Posts Tagged ‘parsley’

Another bean soup–can’t have too many in my opinion!

Interior insulation for the post prandial walk on a chilly winter day.

This satisfying soup is based on one in Elizabeth Romer’s lovely book, The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Family.

Her account of the Cerroti family’s daily existence is a good read and full of authentic seasonal recipes.

Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil

2 onions – chopped small

2 sticks of celery – chopped small

3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

100 g/4 oz smoked bacon/pancetta – use unsmoked if you prefer – chopped small

4 tbsp parsley – chopped

1 x 450 g/16 oz can tomatoes – drained and chopped

350 g/12 oz tinned/jarred white beans – drained, rinsed and puréed–use the best quality beans you can find–it makes a difference

570 ml/1 pint/ vegetable stock – more if you like (I use organic veg. stock cubes)

150 g/6 oz “short” wholewheat pasta – (i.e. penne or farfalle, not spaghetti)

salt and pepper

freshly-grated parmesan

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the onions, celery, garlic, bacon and parsley, and turn them in the oil.
  • Cook them over a gentle heat until the vegetables are tender and the bacon is colouring up – this is the “taste engine” of the soup and needs some time – at least 20 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and mix them in and allow to meld for a good 10 minutes.
  • Add the beans and mix in.
  • Cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • These stages are important for a good depth of flavour and shouldn’t be rushed.
  • The soup should look beautiful now – with a warm glow.
  • Add half the stock and let it meld in.
  • Add the pasta and the rest of the stock and cook the pasta in the soup.
  • It may take a little longer than pasta normally does (I put a lid on at this point to help).
  • Be careful that this thick and unctuous soup does not stick and burn.
  • If you prefer it looser, add more stock and cook on a little to incorporate it.
  • Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste –remembering that the bacon and stock can be salty.
  • Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and swirls of olive oil.

(This nourishing soup is included in my cookbook–Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–a Mediterranean Way of Eating.)

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1st Bttrnt Sq. "What'll we be today?"--2nd Bttrnt Sq. "Gratin I think--scary!".

This is delicious–I’ll stick my neck out.

We had it with some seasoned quinoa (sautéed onion, garlic, a small chili and a little steamed broccoli) last night for dinner and nearly finished the lot.

The recipe is adapted from one in the New York Times*, which in turn was adapted  from a recipe in a cookbook by a legendary American food writer*, who most likely adapted it from something he ate in a restaurant in Provence*, which was probably invented by the grandmother of the restaurant owner*–who had passed it on to her daughter*.

In other words it’s a version of a traditional seasonal gratin dish.

It can be eaten as a vegetarian main course as we did last night or as an accompaniment to a roast chicken or some lamb chops–for instance.

for 4

1kilo/2 lbs of butternut squash–peeled, deseeded and cut into small chunks

4 cloves of garlic–peeled and chopped small

1 generous tablespoon of wholewheat/rye breadcrumbs

1 generous tablespoon of parsley--chopped

1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves

salt and pepper

3 tablespoons of olive oil

set the oven to 190C/375F

Combine all the ingredients in a large  bowl and turn them over and over mixing them thoroughly together.

Tip into a roasting tray or better still an earthenware ovenproof dish.

Roast in the middle of the oven, for about an hour and a half–so it comes out nicely charred on top.

1*–Martha Rose Shulman

2*–Richard Olney–auther of Simple French Food

3*–All three names lost in the mist of time!

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This is my version of a “serious” white bean soup from the great Italian-American cook, Marcella Hazan.

It is in my newly published book–Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–a Mediterranean Way of Eating.

The smooth and creamy consistency make it a comfort soup par excellence –and popular here with nieces and nephews when they come to visit. Meredith says it reminds her of her home town–Chicago, “the Windy City”!

The simple makings

Serves 4

1 clove of garlic – peeled and chopped

8 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoon flat leaf parsley – chopped

1 kg/36 oz canned or, preferably, bottled cannelini /white beans – drained and rinsed

salt and pepper

250 ml/½ pint/1 cup vegetable stock –[I use organic vegetable stock cubes]

toasted wholewheat/rye bread with a little olive oil

  • Sauté the garlic in the oil gently until it colours.
  • Add the parsley and stir a couple of times.
  • Mix in the beans, salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes to warm through.
  • Purée a quarter of the beans in a mixer and return with the stock to the pan.
  • Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Check the seasoning.
  • Serve over the toast with a swirl of olive oil in each bowl.

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I was searching through an old blue large-format scrapbook for the recipe I planned to post today.

No luck–but I found this from Jenny Baker’s Simple French Cuisine–which has been an old friend for years.

It qualifies nicely for the “what to do with the courgettes/zucchini season” list!

for 4

2 lbs/1 kilo courgettes/zucchini–[a mix of green and yellow if you like]-sliced thin. [A food processor helps here.]

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 oz/50gms anchovy fillets–mashed to a pulp

1 teaspoon olive oil [to melt the anchovies in]

2 cloves of garlic–chopped fine

2/3  tablespoons of parsley–chopped

3/4 tablespoons wholewheat/rye breadcrumbs

black pepper and a pinch of salt

for 4

Heat the oven to 200C/400F

  • Heat the oil in the largest sauté/frying pan you have.
  • Add the courgettes and turn them in the oil.
  • Cook them for 15 minutes–turning occasionally over a medium heat–taking care not to brown them.
  • When they are cooked through mix in the pinch of salt–the anchovies in the topping will provide enough additional saltiness.
  • Heat the teaspoon of oil in a small pan and melt the anchovies in it.
  • Turn off the heat and add the garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs.
  • Season with pepper and mix thoroughly–you have the topping.
  • Fold the courgettes into a medium gratin dish and spoon over the topping.
  • Crisscross some olive oil over the topping and round the circumference.
  • Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes–[it should be nicely browned and come out sizzling a little!].

We had it for lunch.
The juices from the tomato salad melded well with the anchovy breadcrumb topping.

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