Last October I visited Italy with some of my family. We rented a beautiful house in Imprunetta, which is just south of Florence. The house had a huge kitchen and the owner was apparently an avid cook, as the adjoining room had shelves and shelves of cookbooks and cooking magazines. It was a bit frustrating that they were nearly all in Italian, but I still enjoyed browsing through the magazines. I copied one recipe in Italian to bring back as sort of a souvenir. With the assistance of my Italian dictionary and the web, I was able to translate it to English, and last night I prepared it for dinner!
The recipe is for “Consommé con Tempestina” which translates to “Consommé with Confetti”. It is a clear broth with colorful bits of vegetables and is garnished with tiny little puffs that are similar to cream puffs. The recipe refers to the puffs as confetti, but the vegetables also resemble confetti. As I was dicing them, I realized that they must have been selected not just for their flavors and textures, but for their colors as well, for they are the colors of the Italian flag: green (zucchini), white (celery root), and red (roasted peppers).
If you have the roasted peppers prepared ahead, the only time consuming part of this recipe is making the puffs. The dough is relatively simple, and doesn’t take long to put together. You then use a pastry bag with a small round tip to shape the puffs. I think the tip I used (Wilton #4) was too small – I had a terrible time trying to squeeze out the dough. A larger tip would probably have made quicker work of this step. I ended up discarding much of the dough because I didn’t have the strength press it all out.
This is a beautiful soup with a novel garnish and it tastes pretty good too!
Consommé con Tempestina
¾ liter consommé (about 3 cups, I used homemade chicken stock)
100 g flour (about ¾ cup)
2 or 3 slices of celery root
½ of a large roasted red pepper
30g butter (about 2 tbs)
Put 2 deciliters (about ¾ cup) of water, the butter and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the flour all at once and stir until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Allow it to cool slightly, then mix in the eggs one at a time.
Lightly butter a baking sheet and line it with parchment (you just need enough butter to hold the parchment in place). Place the dough in a pastry bag with a small round tip and press the dough onto the sheet forming many “confetti” (I made them about the size of chocolate chips). Place the sheet in an oven preheated to 190°C (375°F) for a few minutes (mine took about 9 minutes).
When the “confetti” are golden brown, remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool for a few moments and then use a spatula to remove them from the pan onto a plate.
Wash the zucchini and then cut off the peel together with a little of the pulp. Finely dice the zucchini peel, the pepper, and the celery root.
Bring the consommé to a boil, add the vegetables and let it boil for a couple of minutes. Ladle the consommé and vegetables into cups and sprinkle with the “confetti”. Serve with grated cheese, if desired. Serves 4.
the "tempestina" - ready to go in the oven
the finished "tempestina"