18 August 2011

Cabbage, pasta, parmesan and chickpea soup

Like parsimonious Italian grannies, in my flat we've been saving the rinds of spent blocks of partisan for a moment such as this. Now they come to the fore and truly become themselves. Soup. To be specific, a kind of minestrone x pasta e fagioli bastard, miscegenation born of necessity. The cabbage, pasta, parmesan and chickpeas are the backbone of this dish - feel free to experiment with the other ingredients but I think these four should remain as the central pillars around which the flavour is woven. If you have some white wine to hand why not add a small glass to the pot?

  • an onions and some garlic
  • one cabbage
  • one tin chickpeas (or other beans)
  • parmesan
  • vegetable stock
  • pasta
  • olive oil
  • dried chilli
  • fresh basil (not crucial)

Chop your onions and garlic and cook in olive oil. Give them ten minutes or so to get properly translucent and nice. Add the parmesan rinds and some dried chilli.

Introduce stock, a shredded cabbage and a tin of chickpeas. A couple of minutes later put in some pasta (don't go mad with the amounts - it should compliment and not dominate the rest of the ingredients). Cook for ten to fifteen minutes and make sure everything is cooked. Now is not an al dente time. Season, add more olive oil if needed and stir in some grated parmesan. Add some basil at the end if you have some, it's not a big deal if you don't

This soup is a great example of a combination which exalts its humble components beyond the store-cupboard. The chickpeas and pasta give it main-meal heft, the cabbage gives you vegetable goodness and the parmesan, chilli and garlic keep things interesting. You could posh it up a bit bit that qualifies as gilding the lilly in my book.

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