Sunday, 3 May 2015

A beany soup

A nifty bit of footwork with the menu was called for at the weekend, when Winter, essentially, told Spring to sod right off because Winter was still using the bathroom, alright? Snow fell, tulips withered a-blooming. So the salades ni├žoises of yesterweek were sent back to the fridge, and back came the casseroles and soups.

This one was pretty good.

Serves 2

A 400g tin of borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
A small onion, finely chopped
A stick of celery, finely chopped
Two ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and finely chopped
A big handful of unsmoked pancetta or streaky bacon
Half a red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
A big pinch of ground coriander
A small pinch of fennel seeds, crushed
Half a litre of chicken stock
A handful of orzo pasta
Two or three strands of spaghetti, broken into pieces
A handful of basil leaves and parsley
Ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, a couple of tablespoons

Heat the oil in a saucepan and soften the celery for a few minutes. Add the pancetta and cook till beginning to colour. Add the chilli, garlic and onion and fry gently for about ten minutes. Tip in the chopped tomatoes, coriander and fennel seeds and cook for another ten minutes. Now add the stock and two thirds of the beans. Cook for five minutes, then add the pasta and bring almost to the boil. Simmer for ten minutes or until the pasta is just past al dente. Meanwhile mash the remaining third of the beans. Stir the mashed beans in to thicken the soup, along with the shredded basil leaves and heat for a minute or two. Season and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.