Chef shares recipe for beloved soup
Absence has made the heart grow fonder for Nicole Seu, who asked for a couple of recipes from chef Donato Loperfido's old Manoa restaurant, Donato's. She pronounced herself "in deep mourning" for the restaurant.
The dishes -- Loperfido's Garlic Mushroom Soup and his Nicciolato chocolate cake.
Donato's closed in 2006, but Loperfido and partner Philippe Padovani opened a new restaurant, Elua Restaurant & Wine Bar, last year. In fact, this is their first-anniversary week, and to help mark the date, Loperfido is sharing the soup recipe.
As for the Nicciolato -- that's a closely guarded secret.
The soup, though, is a luscious mixture of mushrooms and 16 roasted garlic cloves, thickened with cubes of bread that are allowed to simmer with the soup for more than an hour.
The finishing touch is a bit of truffle oil, which the chef notes is "optional but necessary."
Elua marks its anniversary with a four-course dinner tonight featuring Oregon's Raptor Ridge Winery. On Friday and Saturday, a special tasting menu offers signature dishes from both chefs. No mushroom soup, but Loperfido does offer his Risotto con Fungi Misti (risotto with mushrooms) and Costolette di Agnello (Mediterranean-style grilled lamb chops). On Padovani's side: Fresh Manila Clam Chowder and Crispy Confit of Muscovy Duck Leg.
Elua is at 1341 Kapiolani Blvd., in the old L'Uraku restaurant location. Call 521-7465.
Roasted Garlic & Wild Mushroom Soup
Chef Donato Loperfido
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 pounds mixed wild or cultivated mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, white or a blend)
6 ounces dry porcini mushrooms
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 quarts chicken stock (preferably homemade)
20 ounces stale bread, lightly toasted, cut in cubes
16 roasted garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
White truffle oil, optional but necessary
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a stock pot, heat oil. Add onions and celery; cook until onions are caramelized.
Add mushrooms, both fresh and dry, and cook about 10 minutes on medium heat, until mushrooms are soft.
Season with salt and pepper, then add chicken stock and bread cubes. Let simmer about 1-1/2 hours on low heat. By this time bread and mushrooms should be very soft.
Turn off heat and use an immersion blender to pure soup until smooth. Add more chicken stock if the soup is too thick.
Ladle into bowls and garnish each bowl with 2 cloves roasted garlic, chopped parsley and a few drops of truffle oil. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 350 calories, 20 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 23 g protein.
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