Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Rain has returned to England after that unusually glorious June. Although there was sunshine in the afternoon yesterday, it felt very much a temporary reprieve.
It was therefore time for a comforting homemade soup. I am not an experienced gardener but Simon and I have gone a bit wild with growing vegetables in pots on our small patio and we had home-grown courgette (zucchini), purple French beans (were they meant to be purple?), tiny mutated carrots that looked like curled-up shellfish, and young ruby chard that could all be chopped and simmered with store-bought onion, garlic, tinned tomatoes, basil and oregano. Near the end, I added a tin of cannellini beans and a big scoop of (gluten-free) macaroni.
Serve with a dollop of pesto, lots and lots of grated parmesan, bread (real or not) and a glass of white wine. I dressed for dinner and Simon wore a suit as he'd just come in from his first day in his new job.
Pasta and bean soup has always been one of my favourites since I used to beg my mom to buy Progresso Macaroni and Bean at the one shop that carried it. I used to sit at the kitchen table with my book, a big bowl of steaming soup, and potato chips (crisps to the Brits.)
When I was a young teenager, I saw Rachael Ray make her own version on 30-Minute Meals and it was one of the first dishes I cooked (successfully) for my family. My current recipe is still based on hers.
I loved it so much that I wrote a story called Sapphire Skies Over Milan with 'Pasta e Fagioli' as it's called by the Italians as a central theme. This story got me a first place win at A.R.T.S. and $3000. Until recently, you could still find it on the NFAA website, but I can't find it now. (As a side note, in searching for it, I was slightly concerned by this newsletter which lists a student winning a short story contest the year after with a story of exactly the same name! Am I paranoid to find this a little suspicious?)
Anyway, a taste of the summer harvest and a comfort in the rain. Could you get any better?