I’ve made it my mission to use up my home grown dried borlotti beans!
They’re my favourite bean. They’re eye-catching.
And they dry and store really well.
I based this soup on a Diana Henry recipe but I only put in half the winter squash/pumpkin and used arborio rice instead of farro or spelt – because that was all I had to hand. I guess you could also use cooked pearl barley instead.
I used half of one of my Turk’s Turban squash. It’s the first time I’ve cooked with one and I was shocked to find out how impenetrable the skin is.
Usually I leave my favourite thin skinned Hokkaido squash unpeeled but this rogue needed pre baking in the oven for ten or so minutes before I could cut the skin off and render it edible!
It tastes delicious though and I may grow them again as they are pretty and a good size for a small household.
I added twigs of thyme and a couple of bay leaves to flavour the soup which I then removed.
Diana suggests sage leaves fried in a little olive oil or fresh chopped parsley.
A substantial rich soup in the Italian style.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery finely chopped
- 450 grams pumpkin or winter squash, discard the seeds and peel if the skin is tough before cutting into small cubes
- 1 tin drained borlotti beans or 300g of cooked borlottis
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme
- 1 litre vegetable stock I use marigold bouillon powder
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 50 grams arborio rice or spelt grain or farro
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley or eight whole sage leaves fried until crisp in olive oil
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add finely chopped onion, pumpkin cubes and diced celery. Cook until the vegetables have a little colour then add a splash of water and some salt and pepper - cover the pan and let the vegetables cook over a low heat for five minutes.
Add the tomato purée, stock, rice (or spelt grain/farro) and bay leaves. Simmer for about 20 minutes (or until the grains are cooked), adding the beans five minutes before the end. Check for seasoning.
If using sage, fry the leaves whole in a little olive oil - be careful they crisp up quickly and can burn easily. Then add to soup. If you prefer parsley add it directly to the soup. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.