This silky-smooth pureed soup may sound like an Escoffier classic, but its taste is purely Tuscan. Chef Lauren Kiino, a firm believer in whole-vegetable cooking, uses more of the leek greens than any French chef would tolerate, for tons of gentle leek flavor. Kiino also stirs in a little crème fraîche. "But the Italian spirit is still the same," she says.
Slideshow: Italian Soups
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced crosswise
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 cups water
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks, onions and 2 teaspoons of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vermouth and white wine and boil until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the potatoes are very tender, about 35 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. Return the soup to the pan. Add the crème fraîche and bring to just a simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt. Ladle the soup into heatproof glasses or bowls. Garnish with the chives and pepper and serve.
The pureed soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Add the crème fraîche and reheat just before serving.
Full-bodied, minerally Chardonnay from Burgundy.
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