Saturday, 1 June 2013

You Can't Fazool Me!

Ditalini Rigate con i Borlotti
Noodle Soup with Borlotti Beans

It is the first day of June, it is supposed to be sunny and warm and instead we have wind, rain and cold. Don't give me that Mother Nature! Give me blue skies! Give me warm breezes! Gimme a break already! I wrapped up warm to head out to the market hall- and wouldn't you know it? Out came the sun! Amazing! Whilst inside, I could see through the tinted windows that there was blue sky above me! But sure enough... by the time I had bought my wares... there was more wind and rain outside to greet me...

So, obviously, the only thing I could do with the beautiful Borlotti beans I had bought was a warming, hearty soup this evening. These beautiful, multi-colored jewels just caught my eye and had to come home with me! I was not going to let the weather get me down- I was just going to let a nice hot soup warm me up instead!


I am not one for soaking beans over night as a rule- I admit that I am more likely to pop open and can and have done with. Unless of course I can get some wonderful, fresh beans like these instead! They still take a while to cook, but what are 45 minutes between friends when the result is a yummy and comforting meal like this?

This was a very economical and satisfying meal to make. I know I basically just give hints and tips on here and leave the exact quantities up to you... but it never ceases to amaze me just how much some recipes will tell you that you need of each ingredient! let me tell you, that with 1 small carrot, 1 stick of celery, 1/2 of an onion, 1 handful of chopped bacon, 3 handfuls of beans and 2 handfuls of noodles... I had easily enough soup for 2 hungry people- and doesn't that picture look yummy? Look like there is anything missing to you? Nah! Didn't think so!

I started off by frying the finely chopped bacon, celery, onion and carrot together, with the stalks of the parsley I intended to chop and add later and a little crushed garlic. Don't let me ever catch you just throwing the stalks away! There is a LOT of good flavor in there! I shelled the beans whilst that was happening and then added them, with a tablespoonful of tomato paste and a couple of bay leaves. I stirred these together for a couple of minutes and then deglazed the saucepan with some boiling water, so as to not interrupt the cooking process. I added enough water to just cover everything, seasoned with salt and pepper, reduced the heat to a gentle simmer and let everything bubble away for the next 30 minutes...

...after which time I checked the seasoning, then added about 1/3 as much water again to the mix and my 2 handfuls of pasta. And then back onto the heat it went for a further 10 minutes...

After 10 minutes, the pasta was cooked and after checking for salt, (the beans do tend to swallow the stuff up!), I took a couple of spoonfuls of beans, mashed them with a fork and stirred them back in, so as to thicken up the broth slightly. I then turned off the heat and let the soup sit, covered, for a further 5 minutes before serving.

In the meantime I finely chopped the leaves of the parsley and grated some Parmesan cheese. 5 minutes later, when I dished the soup up, these were to be the finishing touches, along with some coarsely ground black pepper and a dash of olive oil that it!

Simple good food to chase away the clouds. And to warm you through and through. Sadly- just the right meal for us this evening! Hope you enjoy it too!


  1. I love this dish. Great for any time of year! Hope you see the sun again soon...

  2. Thanks Frank... it's back today! Cold here but at least we have a little sun... I hope you have a lot of sun and that it's a whole lot warmer my friend! :-) Francesco