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Italian Mushroom Soup with Sweet Vermouth and Tomato

(recipe, Joyce Goldstein)

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One day we received a letter from one of the food magazines asking for a recipe that a customer had enjoyed at Square One. Due to a wonderful typo, the soup they requested was Stallion Mushroom Soup. We wrote a fantasy recipe à la Escoffier: "Take one large stallion. Put in a large kettle with water and mushrooms . . ." After much chuckling, we finally sent off the following recipe.


  1. 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  2. 2 medium onions, ¼-inch dice
  3. 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced (see Note)
  4. 6 Tbsp. rich tomato purée or 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  5. 4 cups beef stock or a combination of beef and chicken stocks
  6. 6 Tbsp. sweet vermouth, such as Cinzano Rosso
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. Chopped fresh parsley
  9. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent.
  2. Melt the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they give off most of their juices and soften.
  3. Add the mushrooms with their juices to the onions. Stir in the tomato purée and stock. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat and stir in the vermouth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer a few minutes.
  4. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan cheese. You may add some toasted croutons as well.


We have made this soup with white cultivated mushrooms, Italian brown field mushrooms, and a combination of fresh chanterelles and cultivated mushrooms. Of course the soup is more interesting and earthy with the wild-mushroom flavor; however, I am sure that you will enjoy it with plain old white mushrooms too. If you do use chanterelles, reduce the vermouth to 3 tablespoons.