Minestra Reale

“Royal Soup” is an ancient recipe that can be found in the historical and scientifically written Italian cookbook: La Scienza in Cucina e L’arte di Mangiare Bene (The Science of Cooking and the Art of Fine Dining) written by Pellegrino Artusi, 1891. Artusi was the first writer to include recipes representing the various regions of Italy in a single cookbook. He has been heralded as the first to establish a national Italian cuisine. It is said that even the French chef, Auguste Escoffier was inspired by Artusi. Shortly before Artusis’ death in 1911, 200,000 copies were sold. The book continues to be a best seller in Italy.

Minestra Reale also goes by the name Zuppa Reale or Zuppa Imperiale depending on the regions in Italy. The origin of its name is probably due to the fact that only the rich could afford ingredients like parmigiano and butter.

This light soup is made up of a delicious bone broth and squares of frittata. Greens like kale or spinach can be substituted for the escarole used in this recipe. Bone broth is a comforting and healing food. The gelatine found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid that helps with digestion, hair and nail growth. Bone broth reduces joint pain and inflammation thanks to chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine and other compounds derived from the boiled down cartilage. Bone broth is high in calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that are important for healthy bones. It also has been proven to inhibit infections caused by colds and flu viruses. There is nothing that beats the aroma in your home when a large pot of stock is simmering on the stove. Cheers to good health.

HOMEMADE BEEF STOCK

(You could also substitute your favourite, no sodium store-bought stock)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place beef bones, beef ribs, celery, carrots and onions in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the grape seed oil and roast for 45 min. (you could skip this step if your short on time, however, it produces a rich flavourful broth).
  2. Add the roasted bones and vegetables to a large stock pot. Add a little water to the roasting pan and scrape the bottom, removing any caramelized bits, and add to the stock pot. Fill the stock pot with cold water, leaving 2 inches from the top. Add parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns.
  3. Bring stock pot, uncovered to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 4 hours.
  4. Allow stock pot to cool. Strain the stock and toss out the bones and vegetables.
  5. Refrigerate stock. Once cool, remove any fat off the top. Refrigerate in glass jars or freeze stock in smaller portions for later use.

FRITTATA

INGREDIENTS

  1. 6 Ontario, Burnbrae, free run eggs
  2. 6 tbsp. La Molisana, semolina flour or unbleached all purpose flour
  3. 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  4. 2 tbsp. Liberte, organic, unsalted melted butter
  5. Sea salt to taste
  6. 2 pinches grated nutmeg (optional)

DIRECTIONS

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Beat eggs in a bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients until blended.
  3. Pour egg mixture into a buttered, rectangle or square baking dish. Bake for 30 min.
  4. Remove from oven and cool. Remove frittata from dish and cut into small cubes.

ESCAROLE

INGREDIENTS

  1. 6 cups escarole, finely chopped
  2. 1 tbsp. grape seed oil
  3. 1 garlic clove, cut in half
  4. Sea salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a frypan on the stove, add garlic and cook on medium heat for 1-2 min.
  2. Add escarole and cook quickly just until it wilts, about 2 min.
  3. Season with salt.

SOUP ASSEMBLY

MAKES 6-8 SERVINGS

  1. Heat 10 cups of beef stock in a large pot on stove, adjust seasoning.
  2. Ladle stock into each bowl and top with enough escarole and frittata as needed.
  3. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and additional Parmigiano Reggiana cheese.
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