Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Pasta e fagioli

We've been enduring a spot of cold weather recently; I even had to wear trousers when cycling to work for a couple of days! Actually I think I'm just a wimp after getting back from a nice week in Brisbane where it was 21C every day. I felt like something really homely and gorgeous, but not too meaty, after a week eating out. I googled around and found this lovely Italian 'peasant' dish which seemed perfect! There are many different versions around, but I started improvising from one that mostly included ingredients I had. (Sensible.) One thing that the recipes emphasised was that this varies massively region-to-region in Italy and it's ok to be more of a soup, or more of a sauce, or anywhere in between. So here's my take - and I will definitely be making this again as it was superb!

  • a medium onion
  • a carrot
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 425g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 150g tubetti, macaroni or other small soup pasta
  • 400g tin of borlotti beans
  • grated Parmesan (omit if vegan, obviously!)
  • fresh parsley

Finely chop the onion and fry it over a medium heat until translucent (about five minutes). Peel and dice the carrot and add to the pan; peel and crush in the garlic cloves. Toss around and fry for a further minute, until the garlic is fragrant and softened. Pour in the tin of tomatoes, half of the stock, and add the bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove a ladleful of the soup and blend with half of the beans (be careful to cool for a minute or so or use a large blender so as not to explode soup everywhere!). Return the paste to the pan along with the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes, until the pasta is soft. Add the last half of the beans to the pan, turn off the heat and allow to warm through. Divide into bowls and top with grated Parmesan and finely chopped parsley.

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