Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let them eat.....Hearty soup with Phat Pappardell

Better day today. I gave them gravadlax (again), and then a really big soup with cabbage, beans, bacon with homemade pasta and rough croutons. 
There is a mammouth pasta machine in the house and I have been looking forward to getting it out. The pasta machine. I love making pasta but it has to be worth is cos dried pasta is so good. Lasagne, parcelly things like ravioli and in this case phat pappardelle, that sort of stuff is worth it. Spaghettis? Forget it. Anyway, the Eye-ties will have a name for the pasta I made today and there will be plenty of chefs who know what its called but je suis not one of them. This was big fat ribbons of not fully rolled out egg pasta. I rolled it down to 3 on the marker. 
First thing to do is get the beans on. I cooked some borlotti beans following Harold McGee's initially bizarre way of cooking beans - in hardly any water WITH salt. This is weird. I have always thought (though crassly never tried any other way) loads of water and ABSOLUTELY NO SALT. I put in a chilli, some garlic cloves and some sage as well as a good glug of olive oil. A really good glug. These cooked with the lid on topping up with water until done. (If you got an oven on, cook them with whatever is in there as well. Works nice).
After the beans were on get the onions sweating. I sweated some with garlic, rosemary, green bacon (panceta salada), a chilli and bay in some olive oil for a long time till them onions was sweet. Then I added onion, leak and celery. 
Whilst this was sweating I made the pasta. 1 egg to 100g flour (if you got Italian OO flour, use it) and some salt. As you kneed it (I use a kenwood to start and then finish by hand) add more flour or a drip of water depending on its dryness or stickiness. Wrap it and put it in the fridge. Please do not "pop" in the fridge. Just fucking put it in the fridge. Jesus.
Leave it there for 1/2 hour or so. Then roll it out by hand or with a pasta machine (do the initial roll, fold, quarter turn a few times before rolling it out thin. Once it is a thickness/thinness that you think will be nice in a soup cut it into fat ribbons. 
When all the onion, leak etc base is soft add a tin 'o' chopped tomatoes and stock. When beans are cooked add them with any remaining licor. (I find the beans are best if you leave them for a few hours or a day before using them as the licor becomes unctuous but I didnt have time). Make sure there is enough liquid to cook the cabbage, spinach and pasta that has to go in. Then 20 minutes before you have to serve it add the chopped cabbage. 10 minutes before add the spinach and 5 minutes before add the pasta.
At some point during all the above I found 5 minutes to rip up some ciabatta, toss it in some olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and make some croutons in the oven.
I already had some pesto made. 
The result of all this is a really hearty, healthy soup that is lifted out of the ordinary by the pasta. The pesto and croutons help too of course but they are pretty much mandatory with this kind soup.