Pancetta with a pulse: beany soupy stewMay 11, 2009
As the Empress is fond of saying, “there’s nothing in life that can’t be improved by bacon”.
I nominate pancetta as one of life’s essential ingredients – toss a few scraps through everything from steamed beans & peas, brussels sprouts, boiled taties. Throw it into pasta sauces of all kinds, wrap a chicken breast in it, throw a bit into stuffings of any kind (like the zucchini flowers), wrap a bit of salmon or a sardine in it, or go stuff a quail with it if you wanna get fancy.
Tonight I made a beany stew adapted from Karen Martini’s delicious looking “Northern Italian olive mill soup” in yesterday’s Sunday Life mag. Hers was made with dried borlotti beans but I took the usual open-a-can route, and hers included radicchio and cavolo nero, whereas I just chucked in some silverbeet instead.
Anyhoo, apart from this I pretty much copied Ms Martini’s version of this hearty little number, but unable to resist the lure of the piggywig, I also threw in a few slices of (okay, let’s say it – fried) pancetta and slices of chorizo.
And it was goooood.
So here’s the gist – it’s highly recommended.
Saute some chopped garlic, onion, carrot, celery, silverbeet stalks till tender. Throw in a pinch of fennel seeds, a can of peeled tomatoes, two bay leaves, a cup of chicken stock and a can of drained & rinsed borlotti beans, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Throw in half a bunch of chopped silverbeet, and a sliced zucchini, then turn the heat off for a bit while you get the pancetta & chorizo happening. Turn the heat back up, then serve topped with the porky goodness, some toasted ciabatta rubbed with garlic, and some grated parmesan.
Pancetta & pulses – you canna get better.