Thursday, October 24, 2013

Random Cookbook of the Week - the Minimalist Cooks at Home

This week I drew one of Mark Bittman's earlier cookbooks, published in 1999, The Minimalist Cooks at Home. It's simple, quick cooking without relying on a lot of shortcuts or prepared ingredients, and for the most part I've had good luck with the recipes, though to my taste Bittman underseasons things a bit. I have to use a LOT of salt and pepper, and often increase other spices and herbs, to get the flavor I want.

Prosciutto Soup

- 3 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 lb prosciutto, in 1 chunk or slice
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 lb greens, such as spinach or kale
- 3/4 c small pasta, such as orzo or small shells
- salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Set 6 cups water to boil. Put 2 T of the olive oil in the bottom of a medium saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Chop the prosciutto into 1/4-inch or smaller cubes and add to the oil. Brown, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, while you prepare the garlic, onion, and greens.

2. Peel the garlic and chop it roughly or leave it whole. Peel and chop the onion. Wash and chop the greens into bite-sized pieces.

3. When the prosciutto has browned, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to color, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes translucent, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the greens and stir, then add the 6 cups boiling water. Stir in the pasta and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper; adjust the heat so the mixture simmers.

4. When the pasta is done, taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve.

This is pretty tasty. Not the best soup I've ever had, but a good quick recipe, and the thick chunks of prosciutto and garlic give it a nice, robust flavor.


  1. Bookmarked this one. It's perfect as my wife loves kale and we both love Italian veggie sausage (it substitutes well for prosciutto).

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