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Radicchio is a pretty bitter ‘green’, though in this case it’s purple. This is not necessarily a classic Italian dish but as a soup it struck me as simple to make…yet I’m already having concerns about the flavors: repeated tastings throughout the cooking of this soup which is, in essence, radicchio, garlic, and red onion in a broth of water and tomato sauce shows it still to be a bit…well, bitter. The addition of about 3/4 cup of parmigiano reggiano hasn’t helped much.

I just added, now, about a tablespoon of sugar to tame the bitterness and that seemed to help. I suspect that another band of flavor to punch this up will be necessary, so I’ll be serving some balsamic vinegar at the table for support. I may help, it may not.

The soup is ladled into bowls with Italian-style croutons fried in olive oil at the bottom–this will add a nice textural value to the soup but I don’t think that it is going to necessarily pull it through to keeper or not. Wife will be home soon, and we will see what her pallet tells her. And as I know she loves this chocolate balsamic vinegar I have, and she now seems to use as a garnish as often as she does her beloved Peruvian sweety drops, we shall see.

Meanwhile, I took out my little six-inch cast iron skillet for a spin tonight, putting a mix of sweet potatoes and regular Yukon golds onto the stovetop followed by about 40 minutes in the oven at 425F. Salt, pepper, nutmeg, and only a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Very similar to the Spanish torta de Espanola where eggs and potatoes are mixed for their classic dish, though this one is baked rather than cooked on the stovetop. It’s called Torta di Patate.

Final analysis? The soup dish was pretty much ok, the broth proving to be very flavorful for what little went into it, though we both found the radicchio much too bitter for our tastes. Next time we would perhaps use kale or chard for a less intense flavor from the bitter end.

The potato dish was quite nice–a perfect size serving for two normal people–for us, we both had a quarter of the entire potato dish, and wifey will take a quarter along with some soup to work tomorrow. Both are definite keepers, though the soup with variation and some caution.

PS: wife did not elect to add any balsamic vinegar to her soup. Women. So surprising some times.

Recipes came from an Italian parmigiano-reggiano consortium’s promotional cookbook, The Seasons of Parmigiano-Reggiano filled with recipes and tips, and descriptions of what is truly an unmistakeable, classic cheese.

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