Monday, 13 July 2015

Soup recipes

Here are some soup recipes I posted on my previous blog from January 2010 till February 2015.

Soup with asparagus
A tasty soup to warm you up.
If the weather gets cold (you never know, even August can be tricky these days) a good soup is the ideal dish. I alternate four kinds of soups in my dinners. My favourite is the one with asparagus. It tastes exotic without being too unusual.
For four people you need 400 g. of asparagus, 50 g. of butter, three tbsp of flour, one litre of stock, half an onion, three tbsp of thick double cream, salt, pepper and parmigiano.
Cut the hard white part of the asparagus and boil them in water and salt for 10 minutes. Drain them and blend them with the onion. In the meantime prepare the stock. When it is ready mix the mashed asparagus plus onion, the flour and the butter with it and stir. Let it cook for ten minutes, when it gets thicker add the double cream, salt and pepper at your taste. Serve hot with parmigiano and croutons.
Cosy! I feel better already.

Pasta e fagioli or soup with beans
Are you in the Sage or the Rosemary faction?
I had a kind of debate with my mum by phone about how to season soup with beans (pasta e fagioli).  I have always used sage: it gives a full taste to the soup when combined with tomato sauce.  She said she never used tomato sauce (a heresy!) with pasta e fagioli and she’d rather season it with rosemary.  Whether you are for the Sage Party or the Rosemary Party, here is a good-tasting recipe for cold days.
For four people you need:
250 g of soaked Borlotti beans, one litre of water, one peeled clove of garlic, three tbsp of olive oil, four tbsp of tomato passata, 200 g of macaroni, salt, pepper and sage or rosemary.
Boil the beans gently in one litre of water and salt.  When they are ready, pour the olive oil into another saucepan and gently cook the garlic.  When it is pale brown, remove it and pour in the beans and water.  Add the tomato passata, salt (if necessary), pepper and sage (or rosemary).  Let it boil for 5-10 minutes.  Finally add the macaroni and stir.  When everything is cooked, serve hot.
A variation of this recipe is blending half of the beans and mixing it with the rest.  The result is a creamier-textured soup.

New Year’s Day dish
Lentil soup
In Italy we say that lentils make money.  For this reason we always have a dish of lentils in January, usually for New Year’s Day dinner.  A traditional dish is lentils with cotechino (a big pork sausage) but here is a cosy recipe for a lentil soup, ideal for cold days.  And you never know, it may be lucky as well.
For four people you need:
250 g of green lentils, one onion, one carrot, a head of celery, 150 g of double cream, 30 g of butter, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 100 g of bacon lardons or cubes of pancetta, croutons or conchigliette (a small kind of pasta), salt, pepper and parsley.
Cook the lentils in water with the onion, the carrot, peeled, the celery and a tsp of salt.  When the lentils are cooked blend everything in a liquidiser.  If the mixture is too thick add water.
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a pot, then fry the pancetta for a short while.  Finally add the lentil paste, double cream, pepper and parsley.  Let it heat through till it boils.  At this point you can serve it with bread or croutons or decide to have it in the ‘Italian way’, adding 200 g of conchigliette or macaroni  (a small kind of pasta we use for soups) when the soup is boiling. Let it cook for about ten minutes more.
Hope this will make you rich.

Black Bean soup
Warm up
I love Borlotti beans but to change colour and taste I tried a variation on Pasta e Fagioli (bean soup), using black beans.  
Before starting you need to soak the beans overnight in cold water (a thing I often forget and then I’m hurrying to find an alternative dish at 5:30 pm).  
For four people you need:
200 g of black beans, 100 g of tomato passata, two tbsp of olive oil, 30 g of butter, one small onion or half an onion, one stalk of celery, one carrot, 200 g of macaroni, parsley, salt and pepper.
Rinse the soaked beans and boil them gently for half an hour in one litre of salted water.
Melt the butter in the oil and add diced onion, celery and finely chopped carrot.  Let them cook for a few minutes.  Add the tomato passata, parsley, salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.  Blend the beans and add them, with half of the cooking water, to in the saucepan where the tomato sauce is simmering.   Boil for 5-10 minutes then add the macaroni and stir.   Cook until tender and serve hot.

Zuppa Toscana
Soup with beans and Savoy cabbage
This is a traditional recipe, of a soup my grandmother used to make and my mother and aunts still prepare.  It is a simple soup made with the genuine products poor people grew in their vegetable gardens.  It is healthy and delicious, ideal to warm you up.
For four people you need: a small Savoy cabbage, 250 g of fresh or dried,  soaked borlotti beans, half an onion, one stalk of celery, one carrot, rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, salt and bread (a white bloomer would be perfect).
Chop the Savoy cabbage and cook it with the beans, onion, celery and carrot. Add salt and rosemary.  Let it boil for forty minutes.  When the beans and the cabbage are ready, take out the onion, celery and carrot.  Line a large bowl with a layer of thin bread slices, pour a bit of oil on them and then two or three scoops of the hot cabbage and bean soup.  Cover with another layer of bread, then more oil, beans and cabbage and ladle on the soup liquid as you go.  Serve, adding a few drops of olive oil if you like.

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