Summer is slipping away! I don't mean to be negative but summer is always so short whereas winter lasts for ages!
I love sitting in the garden under the shade of the trees listening to the symphony of the cicadas. They get ridiculously louder as the weather gets hotter. At night they are replaced by the softer and more gentle sound of the crickets. In summertime everything gets so lively out there!
I also love the smell of the sea on my skin, it just feels like a bliss.
The only thing I can do as a reminder of summer in winter is to "seal" the goodness of summer in jars. That's why I am working hard at the moment making tomato sauce (or passata), jams (figs is my favourite) and preserves which can remind me of the hotter summer days instantly.
My recipe today is a soup which is good either in winter or summer. Pasta a fagioli is just a classic Italian soup full of goodness.
I have used fresh borlotti beans which are in season now but I know that sometimes it can be difficult to find them outside of Italy. You can replace them with other types of beans and you can use tinned ones too. This soup will be delicious anyway.
Good olive oil, rosemary and a slice of thick prosciutto or bacon are key ingredients and can add a great deal of flavour. You can also add a crust of parmesan whilst you cook it and remove it before serving it.
A simply wonderful rustic and satisfying meal.
- Prep Time : 25 minutes
- Cook Time : 30 minutes
- pasta ditaloni or any short cut pasta - 320 g - just over 3 cups
- tomato sauce - 250 ml - 8.5 fl oz
- cooked drained borlotti beans or other types of beans - 400 g - 2 cups
- garlic clove - 1
- carrot - 1
- onion - 1
- celery - 1 stick
- salt and pepper
- parma ham or bacon - 1 thick slice
- water - 500 ml - 17 fl oz
- stock cube - 1
- rosemary sticks - 2
- olive oil
Wash the vegetables and chop them finely (you can use a processor too). Chop a few leaves of rosemary too. Stir fry them in a pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Make the broth by dissolving the stock cube in hot water.
Cook for about 3 minutes until the vegetables will get a nice golden colour. Add a couple of spoons of broth and stir from time to time. Add the tomato sauce too.
Drain and whiz half of the beans. Add the pureed beans, the chopped ham, the rosemary sticks, half of the broth and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining broth, the whole beans and cook for a further 15 minutes over a low heat.
Cook the pasta al dente, drain then add it to the soup.
Stir the pasta well in the soup. Remove the rosemary sticks and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. You can add some finely chopped parsley if you like.