RE: Potato Soup
I don't have my Marcella's with me, but try this:
1/2 lb. diced pancetta or bacon
1 large onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
15 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 t. chopped garlic
2 quarts vegetable stock or water
1 C. cream
1/4 C. grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Chives or chopped scallions
Cook the pancetta in a large stockpot over medium heat until crispy. Add the onion to the pot and cook for 4-5 minutes until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs and bay leaf; stir to mix thoroughly with the onion. Add potatoes and garlic; stir to coat them with the pancetta and onions. Add stock or water and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add cream and cheese and stir to blend. Remove bay leaf and purée about 1/3 of the soup in a blender (carefully!). Mix blended portion with the rest of the soup, taste and adjust seasoning. To serve, ladle hot soup into warm bowls and top with chopped chives or scallions.