Spring Soup by Anne Livingston

Why is it so hard to get—and stay—healthy with food in this day & time (& place)? It’s a question I ponder almost daily. Our country is so bizarre when it comes to food. How do we navigate all the pyramids, diets, charts, supplements, and plans? How do we do it cheaply, quickly, without too much thought? I guess we can’t, that’s the thing. But sometimes, we can.

When Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page said at IFBC last year that one of the hottest food trends in the U.S. is vegetables, I was optimistic. No chart or diet or plan will disagree: vegetables are where it’s at, man. Of course, they always have been, but making them sexy to the general public could lead to some interesting culinary developments. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next few years in restaurants, cookbooks, and grocery stores. Let’s watch it develop together.

So meanwhile, vegetables! There’s never a bad time to eat them, but now that it’s spring, it’s an especially good time. According to both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic principles, now’s the time to be extra nice to your liver and gall bladder after a long winter of heavy comfort foods and hibernating. I have been studying Chinese 5 Elements and nutrition, so I’m starting to understand some ways to support those parts of the body.  Right now we need to focus on foods that are:

  • GREEN  all the green vegetables. Leafy greens, such as spinach, chard, kale, and fresh herbs
  • RISING QUICKLY – If it grows quickly or shoots up as it grows, it’s great for spring. Asparagus, bamboo shoots, and radishes
  • ACIDIC/SOUR – citrus, vinegars, pickles, kimchi
  • YOUNG – young shoots or roots, such as mung bean sprouts, baby carrots or beets

All this sounds like a chance to pull out the blender and make a green smoothie, right? Yes, if you live in southern California or Arizona, where it’s already hot. But if you are like me and live in cooler climes, our bodies need it warm and cooked until the weather warms up some more.  This will ease our digestion and ultimately give us more energy. We need something like a green smoothie in our regular rotation, but cooked. And delicious, of course.

This “recipe” is easy, quick, and has interchangeable ingredients. I’ve mixed and matched several soups and have loved them all. I also throw in a few young (unsprayed!!) dandelion leaves from the front yard. Being a wild food, dandelions are beyond ridiculously good for you in the spring, although they’re also intensely bitter, so be sparing if you have a sensitive palate. Shiitakes or other mushrooms also enrich this soup as a garnish. The soup pictured above is asparagus, with a few sauteed shiitakes sprinkled in at the last minute.

I also have some edible flowers growing in the garden, so I use them for festive garnishes. In case you didn’t know, dandelion petals are edible! It takes no money to be fancy around here.


Serves 4 | Start to finish: 15 minutes


  • About 1 pound green vegetables, such as trimmed asparagus, spinach, chard, or broccoli
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion, scallion, or shallot
  • 2 cups stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup assorted herbs, such as parsley, chives, dill, mint, and a few dandelion leaves
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup yogurt or crème fraîche, plus more for garnish
  • Sea salt, to taste


  1. Cook the vegetables and onion with the stock for about 10 minutes over medium heat, or until just cooked and still bright green.
  2. Place the fresh herbs, cream, and yogurt into a blender, and pour the stock and vegetables over the top. Place the lid on the blender, remove the inner “plug” to allow steam to escape during blending, and cover the hole with a kitchen towel to avoid splattering. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. Pour into bowls and garnish with edible flowers and more yogurt or crème fraîche. 

Battle of the Borscht by Anne

borscht This summer I saw a tempting version of cold borscht in David Tanis’ book, A Platter of Figs, which includes exciting additions I hadn’t used before in borscht.  Ingredients such as coriander seeds, cayenne, and whole cloves winked at me from the book, offering the thrill of a little flavor adventure.  

I already loved my version of borscht so much.  Improving upon perfection?  Is it possible?  Making the new David Tanis version, I was excited by the intoxicating smell emanating from the pot.   Since this new version was intended to be served cold, though, that aroma was lost when cooled.  In the end, the new cold borscht recipe was delicious, but my heart still belongs to the simpler version. Is this about flavor nostalgia or the superiority of simplicity?  And did I give Tanis’ version a real chance? 

Clearly I need to make them both side-by-side to make a final assessment.  Oh, darn—I must make multiple vats of delicious soup.  Well, for posterity’s sake, I’m willing to take one for the team.  Below are my modified versions of both borschts (this is a fun plural word to say).  Maybe this autumn you can try them both as well, and we can compare notes.   Happy borscht-ing!


Adapted from Joy of Cooking  -- This is the one I’ve made the most.  I tasted this version over 20 years ago and have made it countless times since.  In my mind, it’s a classic.


  • 1 or 2 T butter
  • 2 cups finely chopped beets (peeled first)
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 cups stock or broth (beef, vegetable, and chicken all work well)
  • 1 cup very finely shredded green cabbage (also, cutting the strands short in length makes them easier to eat in the soup)
  • 2 T red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, or more, to taste (I usually use more.  I have also used balsamic in a pinch)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Garnish options: (use one, two or three of the following)
  • Sour cream
  • Dill
  • Chopped boiled eggs


  1. Melt butter over medium to medium-low heat in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. 
  2. Add beets, carrots and onions, and sauté until vegetables are soft.  Stir often.  This takes about 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the stock, cabbage and vinegar.  Lower heat slightly and simmer gently for 30 minutes.   
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.  Be generous with the salt, but consider whether this soup will be served hot or cold. It will taste saltier if cold, so you might hold back a bit now, and wait until it chills to make final seasoning adjustments.
  5. You can keep the soup at the current consistency, or if you like a smoother borscht, you can also purée part of—or all of—the soup in a blender.  You might need to add more stock to suit your preference in thickness if you opt to purée.  All three textures taste wonderful in different ways.
  6. Serve warm or cold, garnishing with sour cream, dill, and/or chopped boiled eggs.  I use sour cream nearly every time, only occasionally adding the other two options. 
  7. At the table: If you serve the borscht with a dollop of sour cream in the bowl, also consider offering an extra bowl of sour cream at the table for those who wish to add more.  Vinegar is another welcome option at the table for those vinegar fiends who would like to add even more tartness to their soup. 

Makes about 5 cups


Cold Pink Borscht in a Glass

Adapted from A Platter of Figs -- It would be interesting to try this hot when comparing it to the recipe above. 


  • 1 ½ lb beets, peeled and sliced
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 large shallots, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 or 3 whole cloves
  • ¼ tsp cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 T sugar
  • 5 tsp red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/3 cups whole-milk yogurt, plus more for garnish, if desired
  • Chopped dill or chives (optional)


  1. Combine everything but the pepper, yogurt, and chopped herbs in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven.  You’ll want to start with a generous spoonful of salt for this amount of soup. Bring to a boil over medium-high to high heat. 
  2. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  3. Adjust the seasonings, remembering that this soup is meant to be served cold and will taste saltier than when it is hot.  Add the black pepper. 
  4. Important: Remove bay leaf and all the cloves.
  5. Purée the soup in a blender.  If desired, strain the purée into a large bowl. 
  6. Chill for several hours .
  7. Just before serving, stir in the yogurt.  Add more vinegar or water, if necessary, to reach your flavor and thickness preferences.
  8. Pour into small water glasses, with or without spoons depending on how thick you prefer your soup.  Garnish with your choice of black pepper, a dollop of yogurt, and/or the chopped dill or chives.

Makes about 10 cups

Gazpacho Andaluz by Anne


If I had a nickel for every time I said, “Today is the hottest day in history,” I would have a nickel.  Yep, today is predicted to be the hottest day in Seattle’s recorded history.  This sounds pretty hot.  But really, for those who live in other places, 101˚ F is uncomfortable, but still do-able.  For the inhabitants of this temperate city, however, it’s hard to think of anything else today.  Most Seattleites do not own air conditioners, because the weather does not generally require it.  At this moment there are many new air conditioner owners in Seattle now. I know this because the entire city is sold out of air conditioning units.  There is a reason I know this, of course.  You guessed it.  Feeling crafty this morning, I showed up with Rosalie at Sears, anyway.  New deliveries happen all the time, right?  We walked in and asked a customer service rep in Tools how to get to the appliance department, and he replied in a bored and automatic voice, “Second floor on the right.” 

“You’ve been getting this question a lot this morning?” I asked.  He nodded, even more bored.  Nobody was buying tools, for some reason. 

You know those long, sad lines at the airport when several flights are cancelled, the security check is understaffed, and the airport is about to shut down because of some weather calamity?  This is what the scene was like on the second floor at Sears, except instead of luggage, giant boxes perched next to impatient and slightly manic-looking people as they stood in a terrifically unmoving line with one person at the register.

As I had hoped, a new truckful of air conditioners had just started unloading.  A guy with a hand truck emerged from the swinging doors with another few boxes, and people grabbed at the boxes impulsively, not even looking at what kind of units were inside.   “Is that a 1500 or 1000?” someone asked.  I had no idea of what he was asking the hand truck guy, but it was clear that people were attempting to purchase the largest units they could get their hands on.  A couple of people rushed around like frantic spiders in a sink, trying to get their hands on a box. 

I stood there for a second, stunned, trying to figure out if these people had ordered them ahead of time or not.   Was I supposed to wait in one of these lines, or did I need to muscle through with my heavy kid in one arm and somehow claim an enormous box with the free hand?   One lone woman called from a corner, “There’s a small one over here.”  People ignored her.   Rosalie and I came over and looked at it.  It was a unit made to cool one room, such as, say, a bedroom.  This is all we had needed, anyway.  Why else have a kiddie pool? 

When we were walking away from the scene, I heard a guy call out, “That’s all we’ve got.” A voice on the intercom suggested pointedly,  "All available employees please come to the second floor to assist people with air conditioners to their cars.”   That cracked me up.  Usually you hear general requests like "Second cashier, please, " not the more specific, "Holy crap, help me with the crazy people and their air conditioners! There's only one cashier!  Why are you not already up here??!?"  As we were exiting the store with our box perched in a shopping cart, a friendly, sweating man was just approaching the door, and asked, “Are there any more left up there?”  Sadly, it was likely that the swarms had already swept them all up.   

If you happen to live in Seattle and are as unprepared for history-changing as I am, I think the hand truck guy said more units are coming in this afternoon. 

If you can’t get your hands on an air conditioner (and even if you can), I’ve got another cure for the historically-significant-heat blues: gazpacho.  When we were living in Spain in the summer of 2006, I first tasted Gazpacho Andaluz on a day probably hotter than today.  It left an indelible mark on my psyche and palate.  I was moved to write about it, so to quote myself from back then:

Gazpacho Andaluz, the kind made with fresh tomatoes, seems to cool the body several degrees after the first spoonful. When the ingredients are right, you can taste sunshine and rainshowers in it. I’ve been reading articles about gazpacho every day since I had it in Salobrena last week. They served it blended smooth and ice-cold, with a separate saucer mounded with diced tomatoes, sweet onions, green peppers, and cucumbers. This way I could add whatever combination I wished to my soup. Naturally I dumped the whole contents into the bowl and a few bites later felt like I’d fallen into a swimming pool of refreshment. I kind of stopped talking.

Several days and many bowls later I’ve read that gazpacho was originally a peasants’ dish and also one that Roman legions ate while traveling throughout the empire. It didn’t originally contain tomatoes, since that ingredient came later to Spain and Europe. The key components of the ancient mixture were stale bread, olive oil, salt, garlic, and vinegar. There are so many types of this cold soup, and so many versions of its history that it’s hard to keep track. It has a possibly Arab-based etymology meaning “soaked bread” or “fragments,” but even that is debated. In school I teach the sixth graders about the concept of cultural diffusion. One day maybe I’ll show up to class with vats of soup.

Another type of gazpacho, ajo blanco, is made with the above key ingredients, but rather than the tomato/pepper/onion/cucumber-type medley, it’s made with crushed almonds and fresh grapes or melon! Totally intriguing. As I experiment with good gazpacho recipes, maybe I’ll branch out to ajo blanco.

Since writing about it that summer, I have put together a recipe that represents my favorite version of gazpacho, the kind of Gazpacho Andaluz I first tasted. 

If you are not growing tomatoes this year, you can use the “seconds” tomatoes at the farmers’ market—the kind that are on their last legs and need to be used immediately.  They’re perfect because they are cheap, ugly and intensely tomato-y. 

You can add a little extra bread if you want a thicker, more sustaining cold soup, or you can minimize the bread a bit for a lighter, more refreshing treat that you drink from a glass.  It's great both ways.  In heat like this, floating an ice cube in the soup is more than a novelty—it’s a necessity to maintain that refreshing coldness that will cool down your body and spirit like a fresh wind. 

Gazpacho Andaluz

For the soup:

  • 3 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled* and chopped coarsely (about 6 cups)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove or ½ large garlic clove
  • 1 cup chopped onion (do not overdo onion—it can overpower)
  • ½ of a bell pepper (either green or red; green tastes just wonderful, although red adds a great color)
  • 2 T Sherry vinegar (or Balsamic will work in a pinch)
  • 1 slice of white bread, such as a baguette or other crusty artisan loaf, torn into chunks (should be about 1 ¼ cup after torn), soaked in about ½ cup cold water. Stale bread is fine.
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste—having enough salt is important
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a blender, combine all the vegetables and garlic and purée until smooth. 
  2. Add the vinegar, the bread with soaking water, and the salt, and puree until fully incorporated and smooth.
  3. Add the olive oil at the end.  The additions of the bread and oil will probably lighten the color of your gazpacho.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator about an hour or more until ready to serve.
  5. In each glass or bowl, drizzle with olive oil and/or a touch of vinegar.  Serve with garnish (below), if desired, and an ice cube, if the day is hot—or if you cannot wait for the chill time to start eating it!

*I usually peel tomatoes by blanching a few at a time in boiling water, then plunging them in ice water to keep from cooking the tomato.  The skins slip off effortlessly. If they don’t, try blanching for a few seconds longer on the next ones.

For the garnish:

Optional but wonderful—you serve these on the side and give each person a chance to add some as desired.

  • 1 to 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ to 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 green or red pepper (usually I saw green pepper when in Andalucia), seeded and diced
  • ½ onion, diced

Arrange all four ingredients on a plate and serve with bowls or glasses of soup.  Alternatively, you can offer a small individual saucer for each person.

Olive Oil is the New Garlic by Anne

cucumber.soup.nasturtiumIb“I smell salt.” Michael stopped and looked around.  We had been taking an evening stroll in our neighborhood, and at the moment we were standing in the fading light next to a house with a lush garden. I looked around, too.  “I don’t think salt has a scent,” I said.  Or does it? “Are you smelling the ocean? Maybe the wind’s blowing over from Puget Sound.”

“No…” he replied, turning his head to try to locate the source of the smell.  “This is just salt.” 

I sniffed.  “All I can smell is this rosemary bush—Wait!  You’re smelling rosemary!” Mike’s favorite bread from Essential Baking Company is Rosemary Diamante, a loaf made with fresh rosemary and topped with a chunky, sparkling crust of…you know what I’m gonna say.  So Mike smells rosemary and thinks, “Salt!”

Now I smell rosemary and think, “Mike is adorable!”

Anyway, my adorable husband and I went out to eat last weekend at How to Cook a Wolf, and found ourselves facing another sensory mystery.  It was a warm night, the windows were open, and the sun still slanted on our shoulders, so I was looking for something refreshing to eat.  The chilled cucumber soup sounded dreamy to me, but this restaurant serves “plates” intended for sharing.   And Mike, he’s not a cucumbersman.  However, he was game to try it.

The pretty soup came as our first course, dolloped with yogurt and drizzled with bright oil made greener with tarragon.  Mike took the first taste.  His face instantly turned into a grimace—but it was a grimace of too much pleasure, one usually reserved for chocolate and cheese.  The pleasure-grimace over cucumber soup?  What universe had I been zapped into?

“Wow,” he said, reverently.  “This is rich!”  I heard his words but could not understand how he could be saying them.  But then I tasted this soup.  Creamy smoothness and sweet cool hit my mouth like a swimming pool splash on a hot afternoon.  The cucumbers and rich yogurt were subtly offset by tarragon, tasting of freshly built summer treehouses.    But there was something else…what was it?

“Garlic,” Michael asserted.  This is not what I was tasting at all. 

“Is this like your ‘salt’?” I teased him.  What else could this mystery ingredient be?

He insisted that since it had a round, umami flavor and reminded him of salmorejo (one of his favorite dishes that I learned to make in Spain), and salmorejo is indeed garlicky, then the secret to the round flavor must be garlic.  At this point, curiosity overcame our reluctance to bug our waiter, so when he came over to fill our water glasses we asked him what was in the soup.

“Cucumbers, yogurt, and tarragon,” he listed.  Well, duh. These are the three ingredients listed on the menu.  That’s all?  “That's all,” he assured us, graciously but definitively.  He must get this question all the time.  But what about the oil that the tarragon leaves were suspended in? “Well, that’s olive oil,” he said offhandedly, as if to say, Doesn’t everything contain olive oil?  

Then he also confided proudly that the yogurt was made with goat milk.  This surprised me, since I couldn’t taste one iota of goaty-ness.  The yogurt must come from local goat farmers.  Even with its immense subtlety, though, the goat couldn’t be the secret weapon of the soup.   There was something else happening.  Now I had to figure it out.

On our way home we stopped by the store, and I bought cucumbers and goat milk yogurt.  Experiments commenced, and here’s what I found.  Mike and I agree, it really is that simple.  Five ingredients compose this rich yet refreshing soup: Cucumbers, yogurt, salt, oil, and tarragon (and a touch of water for the right constency. Does this count?). 

So where was the garlic?  It was the olive oil.  That garlicky salmorejo Mike loves also contains a generous amount of olive oil, so the association has stuck for Mike’s palate.   This is why olive oil is the new garlic.  But I totally get it.  Mike correctly pointed out that I have my own flavor associations. Tarragon tasting like treehouses?   Hah.

Notes About Making This Soup

Just to see, I tried adding a hint of garlic powder, because I felt that fresh garlic would be too overwhelming for this relatively subtle flavor.  If you let the soup chill for awhile and let the garlic flavor calm down, it does taste good with a touch of garlic powder—but it’s probably not what we were tasting the other night.  I also tried scallions of varying amounts. It was definitely not scallions, or any onion, in that soup last Friday.   

The pungent grocery store goat yogurt is not going to work if you make this soup. I might try goat yogurt from the farmers’ market, but meanwhile, I recommend that you go for the rich and flavorful Greek yogurt.  I’m guessing any full fat yogurt would also taste good, if you can’t get your hands on Greek.

If tarragon is not your flavor of choice, you can substitute it with another fresh herb. I also tried it with dill and it was lovely.  As with the tarragon, though, keep the herb-to-oil ratio low.  The soup is mostly about the cucumber.  You could even just drizzle the oil without herbs at all and it should still have that great summertime-treat flavor.   

Finally, like all cold soups that I know of, there’s quite a bit of salt.  The cooler temperature diminishes the flavor of salt, so you need more salt in a cold soup than you do in a warm soup. And by the way, this soup would be nothing without salt.  And when I say salt, I’m talking about the kind you cannot smell. 

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Tarragon Oil

Adapted from How to Cook a Wolf’s menu

  • 4 cups chilled cucumber that has been peeled, seeded, and chopped very coarsely
  • ½ cup plus 2 small dollops yogurt
  • 1 tsp plus one pinch kosher salt
  • 4 T best quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp minced tarragon


  1. Puree the cucumber in a blender until smooth.  Add ½ cup yogurt, 1 tsp salt, and 2 T of the olive oil. Blend thoroughly.   
  2. Pour tarragon and pinch of salt into a tiny bowl, and gently bruise the tarragon by pressing it with the back of a spoon against the granules of salt to release the flavor.  Stir together with 2 T olive oil.
  3. Pour soup into small bowls or glasses, and top with a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of the tarragon oil.

Makes 3 cups – 4 small servings or 2 larger ones.

Italy in Your Pajamas by Anne


If you have ever experienced a life-altering event—such as having a baby, losing a loved one, or sustaining an injury—I hope that people converged upon your home with plates, pans and pots of food.  What a comforting feeling to have neighbors, friends and family surround you, one visit at a time, one dish at a time.  We experienced this joy when little Rosalie was born.  We were so tired that it hurt.  Who has time to cook when the learning curve of new parenthood is vertical?  The food that people brought to us was the highlight of our blurry days and long nights.     

Many dishes from those weeks were so delicious and sustaining that I asked my friends urgently, “How did you MAKE this?”  Naturally, I can hardly remember what anyone said.  I did remember one soup, though, because the concept was simple for such a full and bright flavor. My friend Teresa learned the recipe back when she lived in Italy, and brought it here, to me, in my pajamas. One bite and it was sunshine in Italy for a few moments.

 Months later I had kale in my garden and a hankering for that soup. I pieced together what I remembered from her description and was thrilled with the results.  Since then I have made this soup for friends, including a couple with a new baby.  It received rave reviews and requests for the recipe.  Here is how I made Teresa’s gorgeous soup.  If you like it, maybe you’ll bring it to someone you love.


Italian Garbanzo Kale Soup 

This soup spans seasons.  It’s hearty and satisfying enough to warm you in autumn, yet its lemony freshness keeps it bright for spring days, especially the rainy ones.  Though a vegetarian soup, it’s so savory that someone might ask if there’s meat in it.  Oh yeah, and it’s easy and quick to make. 

1 small bunch lacinato kale

1 medium onion, chopped 

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 T olive oil

6 cups vegetable stock (chicken stock will work, too, but I usually use vegetable stock)

1 – 2 Parmigiano Reggiano rinds*

4 cups cooked garbanzo beans (preferably dried/soaked and cooked in broth, but canned works fine, too. Use 3 cans, well rinsed, which is slightly more than 4 cups)

1 t dried thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 lemons, one juiced and the other in slices, for serving

Your best extra virgin olive oil, for serving

Shredded parmigiano, for serving

*This is an optional but delicious flavor booster.  Just keep the hard rinds of your Parmigiano chunks when they are all used up.  I store rinds in a ziplock in the freezer for all kinds of soups.  The rind adds warmth and a depth to a soup’s flavor.

  1. First, prep the kale.  Wash the leaves thoroughly.  Very important: remove the tough center veins by holding each leaf down, curly side up, and running your knife along both sides of the vein. Now you have a bunch of long pieces.  Take these pieces and cut them crosswise into short strips, so that you have about ½ inch-by-2-inch rectangles. 
  2. In a soup pot, sauté the chopped onion in olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in garlic and thyme, incorporating them in with the onions, sautéing for about a minute.
  4. Pour in vegetable stock and bring to a low boil.  (If you have those parmigiano rinds handy, add them now).
  5. Add kale. Cook about 8 minutes, until almost tender.
  6. Add the garbanzo beans. Simmer a bit longer until everything is tender. Taste the kale. It should still have a nice green color but is now easy to bite into.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The amount of salt in the stock you use will determine how much salt you add.  In general, soup usually requires more salt than I expect. If you are like this also, be generous with that salt.
  8. With a large spoon or ladle, search around the pot for the parmigiano rinds.  At this point they will be softer and spongier. Remove and discard them.
  9. Remove about half—or slightly less—of the soup, and in batches puree the soup in the blender.  This works best if you puree the different batches for varied amounts of time, because you’re trying to thicken the broth while also creating texture with small pieces of garbanzos and kale.  Return purees to soup pot, stirring well. The broth should be thickened.  If not, puree some more garbanzos. 
  10. Pour in the lemon juice, stir, and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  11. Important: In each bowl, finish with olive oil, shredded parmegiano, and lemon wedges.  Each bowl should have a good drizzle of oil and some parmigiano cheese on it to achieve optimal deliciousness, but the extra lemon is optional for you lovers-of-lemons (like myself).  These fresh garnishes make all the difference in flavor.  Alone, the soup is great.  With the oil, parmigiano, and lemon, it’s molto delicioso.

Serve with a good, crusty bread, such as Pain de Campagne or a rustic Italian bread.

Makes six servings.