|The fresh herbs will infuse their aromas and flavours through this nourishing and warming soupy-stew|
Serves 4 as a main course
150g dried mixed beans (I used pinto and borlotti beans) soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed.
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
5 garlic cloves, very finely diced
125g smoked streaky lardons/cubetti de pancetta
400g tinned chopped plum tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 litre chicken stock
125-140g small pasta (I used farfallini)
5 tbsp parmesan, finely grated
4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 sprigs rosemary
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
5 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- First you need to cook the beans, they need to be boiled for 1 hour. I add a couple of bay leaves and unpeeled garlic cloves in the hope of infusing some flavour. Once cooked, drain and rinse off the mucky water, discarding the bay and garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan (I used the largest one I have). Add the onion and fry without browning for 7-10 mins (until beginning to get soft).
- Now add the rosemary sprigs, chopped thyme, bay leaves and garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
- Once all the herby garlicky oniony flavours have seeped into the oil, it is time for adding the carrots and celery. Fry gently, without browning for another 7-10 minutes.
- Add the lardons and fry for 5 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprigs or they will disintegrate into soggy brown leaves (unattractive!).
- Add the tomato puree and mix thoroughly before adding the chopped tinned tomatoes and mixing again. Increase the heat to a lightly bubbling simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
|Nearer to half an hour later|
- Now is the time for adding in your cooked beans and stock. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- To add smoothness to the finished soup, using a mug, remove a mugful of the mixture and liquidise. Once pureed, put back into the saucepan and mix thoroughly. Season.
- Add your pasta and turn up the heat. The pasta I used cooks in 4 minutes until al dente – if using something different, follow your pack instructions. Turn off the hob.
- Now add half your parmesan and all of the chopped parsley.
- Serve in bowls and top with the remaining parmesan. If you wish, add a little decorative glug of olive oil as an additional topping.