One of my all-time favorite restaurants is Trattoria Mollie in Montecito, California.
Mollie is perhaps most famous for her meatballs (because they Oprah’s favorite). However, EVERYTHING she makes is divine. Homemade pasta. The freshest fish. Vegetables and fruit from the farmer’s market.
We have a dear friend, Angelo Amorico (who, by the way, owns and operates the most amazing Italian travel service, Access Italy) who says that Mollie’s is the best food outside of Italy.
Mollie is from Mekelle, Ethiopia and trained all over Italy, including Umbria, Roma, Bologna and Padova. She is one of the kindest, most thoughtful and generous people I know.
In fact, she has offered to share her super special Passata Soup. This soup is out of this world delicious. It’s not only delicious, but it really feels medicinal when I eat it. It makes me feel strong and like I am on the road to recovery (Silver Lining)!
Hope you enjoy it!
Mollie’s Passata Soup
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for dinishing
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 quarts vegetable broth
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1/2 bunch celery, diced
- 2 russet potatoes, diced
- 3 zucchini, diced
- 1 head broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Salt to taste
- Ground white pepper, to taste
- 1 cup porcini mushrooms, diced
- Reserve a pinch of the garlic and shallots; set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the bulk of the garlic, shallots and the onions.
- Saute until golden, then add the brandy and cook 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Add the rosemary sprig and vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, add the carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, broccoli and asparagus, and bring to a simmer.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Simmer the soup until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Stir occasionally and add more broth if necessary.
- Remove the rosemary and transfer the soup to a blender (or use and immersion blender).
- Blend small portions at a time in order to obtain a thick puree. Do not over blend.
- Transfer to a serving bowl.
Good manners: The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.