Cibrèo’s Yellow Bell Pepper Soup
(Passato di Peperoni Gialli)
4 yellow bell peppers
3 medium Yukon Gold
potatoes, peeled, left whole
1 red onion
1 medium carrot
1 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
12 croutons of fried
bread (for garnish)
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Finely chop the carrot, onion, and celery into a tiny dice. Sauté slowly in olive oil until the vegetables begin to turn golden.
Wash the bell peppers, remove the seeds and any white veins on the inside. Cut into quarters and place in the pot to cook with the whole potatoes. Add the broth, and if necessary, water to cover. Cook for 45 minutes and then purée. In Italy we use a food mill to remove and skin and seeds, and then an immersion blender to purée. If it seems to thick, add more water. If the bell peppers seem a little acidic, add 1 cup milk. Heat with a bay leave, but do not let boil.
Remove the bay leaf before serving. Garnish with croutons fried in extra virgin olive oil. Put a drizzle of olive oil and the parmesan in a small pile in the center of the soup.
In the fall season, Fabio Picchi of Cibrèo does this as a pumpkin soup, garnishing the soup with crushed amaretti cookies!
Fabio Picchi has just been awarded the Fiorino d’Oro for his contributions to the city of Florence. Fabio has created a tiny triangle of paradise for food lovers in front of the outdoor market of San Ambrogio, near Santa Croce Church.
This “paradise” consists of 4 eating establishments, something for everyone. Cibrèo, as the corner is called, is a gastronomic oasis, combining an elegant restaurant with a trattoria at its back door that shares the same kitchen, an exciting bar across the street, and finally, the Teatro del Sale.
Cibrèo’s front room offers a memorable dining experience. Fabio Picchi, the owner, does not believe in serving pasta as a first course. However, with the heavenly dishes he offers in its place, you won’t miss it. I adore the potato sformato with ragu, the pureed yellow pepper soup, and the polenta with herbs. Let the staff help you order; you’re in good hands. The Bar, across the street, serves a light lunch and dinner, with the same menu (and the same prices!) as the restaurant.
Cibrèo Trattoria, also known as the sala dei poveri (the poor room), serves a smaller selection of the same food. No table clothes or stemmed glassware, and you won’t see Fabio near your table. It’s excellent food for one-third the price of the main restaurant!
Now the Teatro del Sale! Breakfast, lunch and dinner served in a private club for members. If you are just visiting Florence you can join for 5 euro!
A relaxed, home away from home atmosphere, Fabio is often found here, directing the open kitchen and his staff in an orchestra of food!
A large buffet makes this a fun place for any meal! Evening dinners often have an event, music or theatre.
There is a small Cibrèo cookbook for sale with some of Fabio’s secrets. He has shared one of them with us, the yellow bell pepper soup. This is a great recipe for any season.