RICE AND POTATO SOUP

by - 5:24 AM

This is the soup my grandmother made most often, and definitely one of my
favorites. It is one of the simplest soups to make, and I am sure it will become a
favorite of your family, too.
To make this soup, be sure you save the rinds of Grana Padano or Parmigiano-
Reggiano when you have finished grating it. Keep the rinds in the freezer, wrapped
in plastic, until you are ready to toss them into soups; they add much flavor and
complexity to any soup.
MAKES ABOUT 2 QUARTS, SERVING 8
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large baking (Idaho) potatoes, peeled and cut into ⅓-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled, and coarsely shredded
2 center stalks celery, trimmed and diced
Salt
2 teaspoons tomato paste
10 cups hot water
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
Leftover rind of the grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, washed
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup long-grain rice
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
¼ cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a deep, heavy 4-to-5-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes,
and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. (It’s fine if the
potatoes stick; just adjust the level of heat to prevent the bits of potato that stick from
getting too dark.) Stir in the carrots and celery, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon,
until the carrots are softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt, then stir in the
tomato paste to coat the vegetables. Pour in the hot water and bay leaves, then bring to
a boil, scraping up the bits of stuck potato. Add the washed cheese rinds, adjust the level
of heat to keep soup at a simmer, and season the soup lightly with salt and pepper.
Cover the pot, and simmer until the potatoes begin to fall apart, about 40 minutes.
Stir the rice into the hot soup and let simmer, stirring well, until the rice is tender but
still firm, about 12 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Sprinkle the parsley into the soup,
and season with grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

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