It must be the colder weather. I just knew that what I wanted to eat needed to be soup, needed to be pasta, and needed some freshly baked bread. What I didn’t know was what it was called. So my apologies to any purists out there – this version was created and then I realised nothing is ever really created (well, ignoring the amazing items that come from Heston) and found that Italy has the name for my pot of bubbling goodness.
Enough for 3 or 4 people, or 2 really hungry ones:
|3 tbs olive oil||1 onion||finely chopped|
|3 cloves garlic||finely chopped, or fewer or more, up to your taste|
|4 slices bacon||finely chopped|
|1x400g can diced tomatoes||opened|
|handful parsley||chopped – I also had some basil that I chopped with the parsley – use whatever herbs you have on hand (or dried ones if your garden is bare|
|about 1 litre chicken stock||yup, I cheated, and used the little pots of stock that you add water to. They are probably one step up from stock powder, but hey I’m not saying this is gourmet|
|150g soup pasta||to be perfectly honest I would use any pasta shapes I had at home, just happened to have ‘soup pasta’. They are tiny little shapes of pasta that work well for soup.>|
|1 x 400g can cannellini beans||opened and drained – you could be Very Organised and cook up your own, but this dinner is all about speed – after all it’s Saturday night and we have to watch the rugby|
|parmesan||grated – as much or as little as you like – Mr MWCED likes his on the side so not much went into the soup – I grated about ½ cup and it all got used|
|Pesto||to taste, about a teaspoon|
|salt&Pepper||to taste – will depend how salty your stock is – I always grind a fair whack of pepper into my sauces and soups|
- Heat pan with a tablespoon of oil and brown off the bacon. Once this is cooked put aside.
- Clean out pan and add rest of olive oil. Heat and add onion, let sweat a few minutes then add garlic and carrot. Cook for around 5 minutes or so, then add tomatoes and half of the parsley. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add half the stock and then pasta. Stir continuously for around 6-8 minutes until pasta is soft. Add more stock as needed. Soup should be quick thick.
- Add cannellini beans, a bit more parsley, the bacon and heat through. At this stage add parmesan and maybe a bit of pesto if you like. Check taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
This is a recipe that can be adapted however which way. Add more /different vegetables, experiment with herbs, use different pasta, add some chopped Italian sausage, just have fun. And, more importantly, eat some delicious soup!
Because I had been thinking of soup most of the afternoon (I was cold therefore I needed to think warm things), I was able to be ultra-efficient and get some ingredients into the breadmaker in preparation for dinner (usually I far from ultra or efficient!). My Focaccia recipe came from a much used bread recipe book (Alison Holst’s Bread Book). Once the breadmaker had finished the dough cycle, I then kneaded it for about 10 minutes – you know, until that time that the dough feels smooth and doesn’t need extra flour, doesn’t stick to your hands, and makes you feel kind of dreamy and proud of your domestic skills. Roll into a rectangle, around 20cm x 30cm, place on an oven tray (I line it with baking paper) and put in a warm place for around an hour (my warm place was the oven which had been previously warmed and then turned off). After an hour the dough should have doubled in size. Turn oven to 225 Celsius. Poke the loaf with your fingers to create holes over the surface. Brush over oil and or whatever toppings you wish. i had some homemade pesto which I mixed with a little olive oil and spread that over the bread then finished off with sprinkling Maldon salt. Bake for around 15 minutes, until golden brown top and bottom and you Just Have To Take It Out Of The Oven And Feel Great Satisfaction.