September Cookbook Club: America the Great Cookbook

Behind the Scenes, Cook, Meet, Recipes, Soups, What We're Reading

What happens when chefs and food luminaries answer the question “What do you cook for the people you love?” Together, the manifold answers comprise the brand-new America the Great Cookbook, a new cookbook on sale that features recipes and stories from more than 100 top food personalities representing all 50 states. In it, you’ll find recipes from the chefs like Marcus Samuelson and David Chang, as well as food pioneers like Ruth Reichl and Joan Nathan.


Below is a peek at one of many celebrity chef contributions from the book. If you’re into the tomato soup and gnudi recipe from Mario Batali that’s shown here, be sure to join us next Wednesday, September 13 at 6 p.m. for our September Cookbook Club, featuring some of our other favorites from the book—Mario Batali’s Orecchiette with Rapini Pesto and Pecorino Romano will be on the menu, as well Ruth Reichl’s Tart Lemon Tart! A $50 ticket per person includes a 1 1/2 to 2-hour demonstration of techniques, a tasting of the book’s recipes, prepared while you watch, a copy of America the Great Cookbook (exclusively found at Williams Sonoma through September) and a $10 donation to No Kid Hungry.


Classes are available in all stores, but space is limited and reservations are required. Request more information or get in touch with your local store for more details.


Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese Gnudi


For the Tomato Soup: 

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup (60 g) chopped dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups (700 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large can (28 oz/800 g) whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Gnudi:

  • ¾ lb (340 g) fresh soft goat cheese (1½ cups)
  • ½ cup (60 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbsp (40 g) all-purpose flour, plus ½ cup (60 g) for dredging
  • Leaves from 1 bunch fresh basil for garnish


1. For the Tomato Soup, in a large pot, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add the flour, stir to coat the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes more.


2. Add the broth, tomatoes and their juices, sugar, and thyme. Using a wooden spoon, smash the tomatoes against the side of the pot to break them up. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.


3. For the Gnudi, while the soup simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set up an ice bath. Sprinkle ½ cup (60 g) flour on a baking sheet.


4. In a large bowl, mix together the goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and eggs. Stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, and flour. Pinch the mixture into pieces the size of a quarter (about 1 inch/2.5 cm), then drop them on the floured baking sheet. Gently form into balls and coat lightly with the flour to prevent sticking.


5. Slide the dumplings into the boiling water, being careful not to crowd them in the water; work in batches if necessary. After they float to the top and have cooked for about 4 minutes, remove the dumplings using a slotted spoon and place them in the ice bath to set. When completely chilled, transfer to a tray.


6. In a blender, blend the soup in batches until smooth. Rinse the pot and return the soup to the pot. (Or blend the soup in the pot using an immersion blender.) Season with salt and pepper. Set the pot over medium heat and return the soup to a high simmer. Add the chilled gnudi and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Do not allow to boil.


7. Serve warm, with a little of the basil sprinkled over each serving. Makes 4-6 servings.

Reprinted with permission from America: The Great Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Weldon Owen.


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