The best carrot soup I ever ate was in Campo de Fiori. It was 2005, and my family went to Rome for Christmas vacation. The summer before, I went away to learn French from a strict ruler-slapping Swiss woman -- and a sixteen year old boy. This boy (who had taken the overnight train from Paris to Rome) joined my family on all our tours of the city, but somehow he and I found ourselves alone in Campo de Fiori at lunchtime. (The next day, in the garden of the Villa Borgese, he told me he loved me; he was my first love.)
Anyway, the soup. The memory of this soup has endured me nearly a decade. I don't have a picture, but I vividly remember how fresh and sweet it tasted. It was not curried or gingery or creamy. It extracted the carrot's purest essence and intensified it. And last night, with all of the pounds of carrot choppings I had from my first week of culinary school, I endeavored to make this soup of fantasy. It was delicious.
- 5 of the freshest large carrots feasibly accessible, peeled and chopped into 4 inch pieces (Don't fuss over the chopping if you don't have to- just chop them to be relatively uniform to ensure they cook at the same time.)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Half an onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar + more to taste
- Set a pot of salty water to boil. Add enough salt to the pot that the rims of the pot become white.
- In a sauté pan over medium, combine the olive oil and onions. Sauté until the onions become translucent.
- When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the carrots. Let the carrots boil for 15 minutes or until they become tender.
- Once the carrots are tender, discard the some of the water so that there is only as much water that the carrots are submerged. For me, in a big pot, this meant discard half of the water.
- Add the onions to the pot of carrots. Purée with a hand mixer.
- Add the pumpkin pie spice and the brown sugar. Salt to taste.
- Serve. Or store for up to 4 days.
Serves 10. 45 minutes total time, 30 minutes active time.