Zuppa Di Funghi

         Yield: 10 Servings
Categories: Elba (tusca, Soups, Tuscany

1 1/2 oz Dried Porcini mushrooms 3 oz Prosciutto 15 Sprigs Italian parsley, -leaves only 1 Medium-sized garlic clove, -peeled 1/4 c Olive oil Salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, -to taste ------------------------------------PLUS------------------------------------ 2 qt Chicken broth, preferably -home made, defatted 1 3/4 lb All-purpose potatoes, -peeled, cut in 2" cubes To serve: 16 Heaping TBS croutons 2 c Vegetable oil (1/2 -sunflower,1/2 corn) 1 Very large garlic clove, -peeled Salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, -to taste 8 lg Basil leaves 8 Sprigs Italian parsley, -leaves only Soak the mushrooms in a bowl containing 1 quart of lukewarm water for 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, finely grind prosciutto and finely chop parsley and garlic together on board. Place a medium-sized stockpot with the broth over medium heat and when the broth reaches a boil, add the potatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes. By that time the potatoes should be almost dissolved. Pass the contents of the stockpot through a food mill, using the disk with smallest holes, into a crockery or glass bowl and let rest until needed. Drain the mushrooms and carefully clean them, removing all the sand attached to the stems. Strain the soaking water by passing it several times through a strainer lined with paper towels. Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium-sized stockpot over low heat. When the oil is warm, add the ground prosciutto and the chopped ingredients and saut? for 5 minutes, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the pot. stir very well and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the mushroom water, a little at a time, and cook for 15 minutes more. Put in all the broth containing the passed potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon and seasoning with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, prepare the croutons. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and line a serving platter with paper towels. Add the whole clove of garlic and saut? for 20 seconds. Put in the croutons and fry until golden. Transfer them to the lined serving platter to absorb excess fat and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Discard the clove of garlic. When the broth becomes smooth and rather thick, immediately ladle it into the individual soup bowls. Put some of the croutons on top of each portion, then some parsley and basil leaves, and serve immediately. This soup may be prepared in advance and reheated at the very last moment. September 8, 1996 Recipe by: =A9 Giuliano Bugialli 1994