Monday, September 03, 2007

Pear Pecorino Potato Soup: Recipe

pear pecorino potato soup
I know what you're thinking. What kind of still life is that? In addition to being a study in ingredients that start with the letter "P"; pear, potatoes, pecorino and pepper are also the main ingredients in a most delicious soup.

You don't have to look hard to find a number of recipes featuring the combination of pear and the dry Italian sheep's milk cheese, pecorino. What's truly amazing is the range of recipes. Salads are an obvious choice, and there are sandwiches too. But how about ravioli from Lidia Bastianich? Ice cream from David Lebovitz?

The sweetness of the pear is complemented by the sharpness of the cheese and amazingly it works as well hot as it does cold. The combination is so good, it can make you rethink the ubiquity of those other classic combos like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese. I mean, you don't see peanut butter and jelly salad or macaroni and cheese ice cream! If any molecular gastronomists are reading please, don't go there.

It was all those pear and pecorino combos that inspired me to come up with a variation on a simple classic, creamy potato soup. Not only does this soup have very few ingredients, it takes very little time and effort to make. It's a rich and complex soup, the creamy potato backdrop accented with a little sweetness from the pears, a little sharpness from the cheese and just a tiny bite of pepper. It also pairs well with many different sandwiches, though probably not peanut butter and jelly!

Pear Pecorino Potato Soup
Makes about 4 cups (recipe can easily be doubled)

Ingredients

4 medium to large russet potatoes
1 pear
2 cups water
1 cup broth (I used chicken broth but any mild broth is fine)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Peel and chop the potatoes into thumb-sized chunks. Peel, core and chop the pear. Add pear and potato to saucepan and cover with water and broth. Simmer until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until fully melted. Add the milk and a few grinds of pepper. Puree in blender in batches, until thick and creamy. Taste and season to taste.

Enjoy!