I found a recipe in one of my old notebooks at the end of last year – a recipe I don’t think I’d ever made in England but which I must have jotted down from somewhere to have on hand for the right moment. That right moment is apparently during the restoration of an Italian farmhouse in below-zero temperatures.
We’ve been having this for lunch nearly every day after I batch-cook a huge potful and store them in portions in the freezer. It’s an easy decision in a morning to pluck one out to defrost ready for a quick heat up for lunch, although as cold as it is at the moment I’m having to disentangle the whole solid lump from its freezer bag and put in the pan to heat through!
I’m giving you the recipe for around 6 portions – I usually make double this so don’t be alarmed by the size of the cooking pot in the photos. I can then freeze them in 2 portion packs giving us a good week’s worth of easy lunches (with a day off for good behaviour!)
So here’s my recipe for ‘Zuppa di Fagioli’ or Italian Bean soup.
Good glug olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped (if you can’t get fennel, 3 or 4 stalks of celery are a good substitute)
1 leek, finely chopped
2 x 400g tins mixed beans (I use 1 tin of cannellini and 1 tin of borlotti – it gives a nice mix of colour to the beans in the soup)
Handful of parsley – chop the stalks into one pile and chop the leaves into another pile
300g ripe cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 ½ litres of vegetable stock
Drain the beans and add them to the pan along with the chopped parsley stalks, the halved tomatoes and the garlic. Combine gently as you don’t want to crush the beans.
Finally add the chopped parsley leaves, some salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and combine with a quick stir.
Serve it as it is, add a sprinkling of parmesan over the top, or maybe stir through a spoonful of pesto. We love it as it is with a chunk of crusty bread … usually eaten outside whilst we’re wearing three layers of clothing, perched on the ‘scavatore’ using the hot-filled bowls to keep our hands warm!
I hope you give this recipe a try. If you do make it – let me know what you think … what you added … and where you ate it!
… Buon appetito!
Oh and Marcus is going to be sharing his next Post in the next couple of days so don’t forget to check in on his Blog http://www.renovation.midlifeitaly.com Better still, why not register for an email reminder so you know when he’s posted?