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Book Recommendation: Anne Willan's One Souffle at a Time & A Recipe for Count Rocco's Minestrone

Last month I received a preview copy of Anne Willan's One Souffle at a Time. I have to admit that I had no clue who Anne is, but was interested in finding out. After all, there are very few books that tell a real person's story and include recipes that I will say no to....well, I could not really get into Dearie, but that's another story.

I absolutely loved Anne's memoir. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in food, travel, love, family, and the world of publishing. Yes, the book touches on all of these subjects and more. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Anne acknowledged how many times she happened to be in the right place at the right time or lucked out because of her connections. But don't be fooled: she worked incredibly hard.

I also enjoyed that Anne's memoir was sprinkled with many of the names you are likely to recognize if you love the world of food: Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse and Lisa Ekus, just to name the few.

So go get your own copy of the book and let me know what you think!

The first recipe that I cooked from Anne's book was Count Rocco's Minestrone. I used the exact same ingredients as Anne mentioned, but made two changes:
1) I decided not to peel the tomatoes.
2) Instead of baking {yes, baking!!!} the minestrone for 3 to 4 hours at 325, I decided to cook it for 2 hours at 400. Luckily, it came out perfect!

Count Rocco's Minestrone
Credit of Anne Willan's One Souffle at a Time
Serves 6-8


1 cup dried white kidney beans
2 medium tomatoes
3 bay leaves
medium bunch of thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, cut in 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium carrot, cut in 1/2-inch chunks
2 stalks celery,  cut in 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium zucchini, cut in 1/2-inch chunks with the skin
20-28 green beans, trimmed and cut in 3/4-inch stciks
1 potato, peeled and cut in medium dice
3-4 Savoy cabbage or kale, finely shredded {I used kale}
2 cups fresh or frozen peas {I actually used 1 cup frozen peas and 1 cup frozen corn}
8 cloves garlic, peeled
slat and pepper
2-3 pieces of rind from Parmesan cheese
2 cups water, more if needed

to finish
bunch of basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil, more for drizzling if desired     


Soak the beans overnight in cold water, then drain them. Heat the oven to 325. Tie the bay leaves and thyme in a bundle with string.

Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the onions, and saute gently until very tender but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, carrot, celery, zucchini, green beans, potato, cabbage or kale, peas, and garlic. Add a little salt and plenty of pepper and tuck in the herb bundle and cheese rinds. Add the water to generate steam when cooking begins.

Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender and falling apart so the flavor is concentrated, 3 to 4 hours. The minestrone should be the consistency of soft risotto. During cooking, add more water if the vegetables seem dry. Discard Parmesan rinds, taste the minestron, and adjust the seasoning. It will mellow if you keep it a day or two in the refrigerator.

To finish: Reheat the minestrone. Coarsely shred leaves from the basil, reserving sprigs for decoration. Stir the shredded basil and grated Parmesan with a generous drizzle of olive oil into the minestrone. Taste again and adjust seasoning, particularly with pepper. Serve the minestrone in bowls, topped with a basil sprig. If you like, pass a bottle of your favorite virgin olive oil to drizzle on top.

I really enjoyed eating this vegetable stew for days. It's perfect for any season of the year and can be served for lunch or dinner. I bet you can even puree it if you wanted to. Definitely make this for yourself this weekend!


Belinda @zomppa said...

Wow - what gorgeous dish - love the colors!

Kelly Mudry said...

I gave my husband Anne Willan's book, French Regional Cooking in the late 1980s as an anniversary gift. Anne Willan is quite well known for her cooking school in Paris, La Varenne. She's wonderful, with real appreciation for good ingredients and letting those sing

Olga @ MangoTomato said...

Well, NOW I know who she is ;) What a great anniversary gift!

LaRaeRae said...

This is such a beautiful, thick soup! I'll have to try it. I love minestrone.