pasta e fagioli

There is nothing quite as rewarding as making a meal using your own home grown vegetables.

250g fresh Borlotti beans – unfortunately they loose their wonderful ‘speckled’ appearance after cooking
(you can of course use dried or canned beans just adjust the recipe accordingly)

Cover the fresh beans with water, 2 cloves of garlic and 2 Bay leaves and bring to the boil.  Boil for 10 minutes and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes until soft

2 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped into small cubes
1 medium size onion chopped
1 leek finely chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large ripe tomatoes or a can of tomatoes
1lt vegetable stock
fresh basil
1 fresh red chilli de-seeded and finely chopped or half a teaspoon of dried chillies
200g dried macaroni pasta
Fresh grated Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil to serve

Fry the leek, onion, garlic and chilli for about 10 minutes until soft and the mixture has reduced. Add the tomatoes and stock and cook for a further 10 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves from the beans and squeeze the garlic from its shell and add to the pot. Simmer for 5 mins. Add the pasta. (NB. This is a thick, substantial soup but If you want more liquid cook the pasta separately and add at the end otherwise it absorbs too much of the stock). Season with freshly ground black pepper, olive oil and grated hard cheese like Parmesan.