Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Making a Souper Supper

Spezzatino Estivo di Fagioli, Pepe e Pomodori
Summer Bean, Tomato and Pepper Soup

I hate to tell you this my friends... but Fall is on it's way and the time of year for those more warming and comforting dishes is drawing closer. No need to panic of course- everything is just fine... but it was noticeably cooler today here in Frankfurt- which was what prompted my decision to make my first soup in a long time for my supper!

Now I love soup even on the hottest of Summer's days- and I don't mean those chilled things either. I mean real, honest to goodness, hot and steamy, delicious soups of almost amy kind. Not the creamy ones- nor silliness like tomato soup (that's just runny sauce!!!), but nice flavorful combinations of flavors and ingredients. I like the real deal. Something like this for example...

I wanted to make something that really did still taste of the Summer and that meant not cooking everything to death- well... just a few of the ingredients maybe! Meaning the essentials, the "sofritto", the diced carrot, onion and celery that are the "Holy Trinity" and the basis of most Italian sauces and soups. So that was what I started with- together with a  little finely chopped garlic and a little olive oil. I also added the stalks of the parsley that I was going to used, chopped very finely- they give so much good flavor to a soup! Don't be a ninny and throw them away!

After the sofritto has cooked away for 4-5 minutes, add the diced peppers, a couple of teaspoons of Ajvar to heighten the pepper flavor, a add a couple of cups of boiling water. Put the lid back on and let that simmer away for 10 minutes or so. After that time add the beans- whichever kind of beans you like- these were those jumbo-sized Greek beans that a kind of in-between thing between a cannelini bean and a butter bean. In they go, straight from the can, with about a half of the liquid from the can too. Now add a good handful of the finely chopped parsley leaves and the tomatoes. I used yellow cocktail tomatoes and some beautiful, little green and red streaked baby heirloom tomatoes to make it a little prettier- but any tomatoes will do.

I added a handful of finely chopped basil, grated it with a little nutmeg and let it sit with the heat turned off for 5 minutes before serving. If you want to thicken the soup, simply take a couple of spoonfuls of beans and mash them down with a fork, then stir them back in before letting the soup sit. Serve with a little freshly plucked basil and a good pinch or coarsely ground black pepper... and enjoy the taste of the Mediterranean!

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