Very good velvety, to do and redo – Italian Cuisine

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Anyone who is interested in cooking will have noticed that the velvets have reached a peak of popularity. The truth is that they manage to make everyone agree, they are very convivial and usually like even the smallest for their consistency, while the soup continues to trigger strong prejudices among children.

They are a trend of recent times, or perhaps they simply have become famous lately and with this name, but in reality they have existed for some time. The most famous recipes are those of Escoffier, written in 1934, and of Prosper Montagnè, written in 1938, which wants it white and pure par excellence. But one of the first appearances of this sauce is in Sabina Welserin's recipe book of 1553.

The velvety are easy to prepare and they must not be confused with the past (smoked version of mixed minestrone) or with cream (which normally provides only one ingredient). They are photogenic, just see the shots of the charming Norwegian food writer and photographer Marte Marie Forsberg, which tell of steaming bowls consumed in front of a cloudy sky. A meal that tastes of winter in short (but also of autumn), of home and family and that in reality is among the most versatile imaginable.

167235The secret is a saucepan with high edges and a seasonal ingredient (normally it is vegetables, among which the most famous is the pumpkin, but there are also those who make chicken or carnivorous). The recipe includes a sauté then put the vegetables directly in the pot and cover with boiling water or vegetable stock. Cooking is fast, about thirty minutes at the most, with uncovered pot and low flame. Finally, the crucial phase, the cream is blended and if it is still too liquid (probable) should be put on the fire to make it thicken a bit or add flours of legumes or cereals to give more body to the preparation. The advice of many is to add potatoes at the beginning of the preparation, precisely because they are able to give that velvety texture more than any other ingredient.

What is of pumpkin, leeks and potatoes, zucchini or fennel does not matter: the velvety can then be embellished with cheeses, salami or anything that lends itself to accompany it (so basically everything). The final touch is given by croutons, sautéed vegetables or ham cubes, which in addition to adding flavor create a pleasant contrast of textures.

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Fundamental, of course, is to choose seasonal vegetables, following their tastes but also experimenting with unusual vegetables. In winter why not try celeriac, white turnip, Jerusalem artichokes or salsify?

There is certainly one of the most loved ones cream of pumpkin, appreciated for the sweet taste, the moderate caloric intake and its versatility: very good one with spicy croutons made by retrieving the panettone (and who does not have some in the pantry during and after the holidays?).

Even the ingredients usually reserved for important occasions can be used to give an unexpected touch to a cream. The one of potatoes with cotechino and black truffle It is perfect for opening a winter dinner with an important course. If you are looking for an unusual recipe, try the velouté with potatoes and new leeks, in which the delicate flavor of the vegetables is combined with the shrimp wrapped in bacon and the crispy ones fried zucchini flowers, for a combination of really intense tastes.

Claudia Minnella
January 2018
updated by
Emanuela Di Pasqua
December 2018

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