The ideal arugula to use for this soup is the tougher, wilder kind; the fragile hydroponic type is too delicate for this dish. Serves: 8
- ¾ pound medium-size potatoes (about 2 potatoes), peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
- 1 pound arugula (2 to 3 large bunches), preferably not hydroponic or “baby”
- ½ cup dices (½-inch) day-old Italian bread with crusts removed
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 whole peperoncino (dried hot red pepper) or ½ teaspoon peperoncino (crushed red pepper)
- 7 cups water
- In a deep, heavy 4- to 5-quart pot, combine the potatoes and water. Salt the water lightly and bring to a boil. Adjust the level of heat to medium-high and cook the potatoes, covered until they are tender but still hold their shape, about 18 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut off the thick stems from the arugula and wash the leaves in cool water to remove all sand and grit, changing the water if necessary. Drain the arugula well and cut into 2-inch lengths.
- Stir the arugula and bread into the pot and let boil for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and peperoncino and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes.
- Scrape the contents of the skillet into the soup pot and stir well. If using a dried whole pepper, remove it. Season the soup to taste wand serve in warm bowls, sprinkled with grated cheese and drizzled with more extra virgin olive oil.