Monday, July 28, 2008

My Mum and Dad have been staying with us over the last three weeks. Mum came earlier than Dad and unfortunately he was only able to stay a week but we still managed to cram a lot into those few days, including a lot of good eating.

An Australian friend of Mum's recently showed her how to make a delicious pasta soup with marrow bones which the family nicknamed Aussie Pasta soup and so Mum and I cooked up a large pot for the week that Dad was staying. We were all really busy finishing off the bathroom, hanging pictures, grouting and taking care of Amy and a large bowl of this soup is the perfect way to fill lots of hungry bellies. Last week Mum and I caught up with her Aussie friend here in Sydney and she told us the real name of this one-pot meal is Pasta e Fagioli.

Pasta e Fagioli or Aussie Pasta Soup.

Ingredients (makes approx. 14 bowls)
1 bag of marrow bones (approx. 10 bones, split)
3 tins of red kidney beans (or 1x 500g packet of dried, soaked overnight)
3/4 large white onions
5 garlic cloves
1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley
1x 500g jar of tomato paste
olive oil
400g penne pasta
salt and pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
parmesan cheese

1. Cover and soak the kidney beans overnight if you are using dry beans
2. Put the marrow bones into a large pot and cover with boiling water to three times the height of the bones. Bring to the boil and add the tomato paste and (dried, soaked kidney beans) hold off if you are using tins, they only need to be added later in the cooking.
3. add 3 flat tbsp of salt and pepper
4. stir well and reduce to a simmer, allow to simmer for 3 hours (or completely forget about the soup and come back to check on it nearly 4 1/2 hours later!)
5. heat 1/2 inch of olive oil in a frying pan
6. fry the roughly chopped onions, garlic and chopped parsley in batches until soft. DO NOT BROWN!
7. Add the onions, garlic and parsley to the pot about 45 minutes before serving along with a tsp of cayenne pepper.
8. 20 minutes before serving add the pasta.

Serve with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese. This is a phenomenal soup, rich and filling with a complexity of flavours from the marrow bones and parsley. It will keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days and trust me, this only improves with time!

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