The most important resource in my kitchen is my stock of broth or brodo. When a recipe calls for broth I never use store-bought, ever. The flavor, even of the better packaged organic broths, are mostly salty and have an indistinct flavor that doesn’t seem right. Making one’s own broth is easy, mostly carefree, and fills the house with the most soul-satisfying aroma all day.
Nothing is as quick to nourish as a rich broth. The energy is distributed immediately throughout the body.
Here’s what you need:
8-10 liter stockpot and the following ingredients (organic when possible)
⅓ cup of high quality extra virgin olive oil
1 head of garlic with skin on sliced in two along the waist
1 head of celery each stalk sliced lengthwise into halves or thirds, including tops if supplied
6 medium carrots, sliced lengthwise
2 small or one large bulb of fennel cut into quarters, including fronds
2 medium leeks, cleaned well, sliced lengthwise, then in halves including the green tops
1 fresh ginger root with skin on, about 3″, quartered lengthwise
20 black whole peppercorns
2 or 3 peperoncini (chili peppers)
Fresh sprigs of thyme, parsley and a bay leaf
1 large can of high quality whole Italian tomatoes
Salt but not much. I suggest to under salt the brodo since when it’s served the saltiness can be adjusted
Put the oil in the stockpot. Add vegetables and spices, and stir over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes.
Add enough water to come 2 inches to the top of the pot, then add the herbs and tomatoes with all their juices. Bring to a boil then simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally, breaking up the softening vegetables with a wooden spoon to release flavor and color. Occasionally bring level to within 1 inch to the top of the pot with more fresh water.
Near the end, add some salt but not too much–just enough to complete the flavor.
After 3 hours of cooking, take the pot off the flame and cool until room temperature.
Strain all the vegetables and toss them.
Drink your brodo right away or pour in freezer containers then pop them into the freezer
There you have enough brodo for the next 3-6 months for risotto, soups, stews, or whatever recipe calls for stock. Or, serve it simple with pastina or other pastas with chopped parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It’s a perfect comfort food recipe, especially when your tummy is calling for help but also to detox after the holidays or simply to keep warm on a cold night. Enjoy!
Images courtesy of Kevin Walz and pescefragola.it
Kevin Walz is a renowned designer and artist who has worked in the USA and Italy. He is also a fantastic gardener and home cook that specializes in healthy, mostly vegetarian recipes such as pasta with chickpeas or borlotti beans, Tuscan bean soup (ribollita), all sorts of delicious baked goods and homemade gelato using fresh seasonal ingredients often from his urban garden in New York City. He is a regular contributor to numerous design and style publications and guest blogger for Casa Mia.