|Pasta and Broad Bean Minestrone|
Nov 12th, 2004
Okay, so I messed this recipe up all kinds of ways, and it still turned out good, so I think it's a winner. The things I did wrong were: I simmered it too long, so it ended up being thicker than it is supposed to be which was compounded by mistake #2 which was to use tiny little pasta 'stars' (about the size of a grain of rice) for the pasta instead of a larger elbow or shell noodle. The little tiny pastas soaked up lots of liquid, and with the additional simmering time made the soup more like gruel. And the third thing was that I threw in some frozen spinach at the end. Fresh spinach would have been fine, but my frozen spinach tasted suspiciously like grass.
And yet, despite all that we ate this happily for dinner and several subsequent lunches. I'm looking forward to making it again - with no mistakes this time!
Oh, and I used edamame instead of fava beans because I could not find any favas. I swear I bought a bag of frozen lima beans to substitute, but somehow between the store and home they turned into peas. I remembered how one of the restaurants Shannon & Steph and I went to in San Francisco substitued edamame for fava beans, and decided to go for it as I had some in my freezer. That was not one of my mistakes, it actually worked out well, but I will continue the fava bean hunt. Large canned white beans would probably be a good substitution as well.
Pasta and Broad Bean MinestroneServes 44 ripe tomatoes, quartered
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 cups (10 oz) shelled fava beans
5 oz small soup pasta
cracked black pepper and sea salt
1/3 cup shredded basil
8 slices crusty bread
olive oil, extra
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Place the tomatoes and 2 cups of the stock in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture through a sieve and set aside. [This makes an almost pink, foamy liquid if you're using orange and yellow tomatoes as I was - so cool!]
Heat a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add the oil, onions, celery and bacon and cook for 8 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the tomato mixture, remaining stock and fava beans to the pan and simmer for 12 minutes. Add the pasta, pepper and salt and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pasta is soft. Stir through the basil.
To serve, drizzle the bread with a little oil. Sprinkle lightly with parmesan and broil until golden. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the parmesan toasts.
*You can use frozen fava (broad) beans but you will need to peel them. Or try edamame or lima beans - those are easy to find in the freezer section.
-Donna Hay, Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry