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Sunday Night Soups: The Minimalist's Prosciutto Soup (Gurgling Cod Country Honk Version)

Sunday Night Soups, where each week The Gurgling Cod shows up to offer a soup appropriate to the week's Sunday Night Football game on NBC.

This week, the Patriots cede the Sunday Night spotlight to the 4-7 Bengals, who visit the Pittsburgh Steelers in a renewal of a hallowed Rust Belt rivaly. The AFC North is known for hard-nosed football, but Cincy and Pittsburgh have culinary traditions that do not translate easily into soups.

Under the circumstances, the best approach is to make a soup that keys on a single player, as with the pho bo for Cowboys–Bears back in September. A flamboyant Mexican soup honoring Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson would be one option, but we've done a posole recently, which unfortunately is where my even vaguely Mexican soup repertoire begins and ends.

With the departure of Joey Porter, the most prominent Steeler is Ben Roethlisberger, who nearly ended his career in a summer 2006 motorcycle crash. While the affair did furnish Steeler fans with a rare offseason tailgating opportunity, a soup that would remind Big Ben to wear a helmet seems like a good idea, but helmet-shaped foods are rare.

Granted, orecchiete are shaped more like WWI doughboy helmets than like DOT-approved motorcycle helmets, but we're about raising awareness by any means necessary here at Serious Eats. Thus, a soup with pasta, and continuing last week's theme, no stock. This is adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe that appears in The Minimalist Cooks at Home and is also available here. The biggest changes that I are to sub country ham in for its opera-loving cousin, and to insist on the parmesan rind. You can stick with the prosciuitto, but country ham is easier to find in a chunk, (you could, for instance, take a slab off of the country ham you keep in its own suitcase, and the intense flavor and salinity of the ham is tempered by the water. This soup is austere, yet fulfilling, like a Bergman film, or night football in Pittsburgh in December for that matter.

About the author: The Gurgling Cod, aka 'Fesser, writes The Gurgling Cod, a blog that is primarily concerned with food.

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