Seasonal local food recipe No.309 – Pasta and potatoes

This soup sounds just right for the cold weather that is being predicted to arrive this week.  This recipe is from Rachel Roddy’s Kitchen Sink Tales column in this week’s Guardian Cook supplement.

She says: “One thing I will stress the importance of is the extra virgin olive oil, with its grassy scent and seductive mix of butteriness and bitterness. It really is the fragrant foundation of this dish … treat it as a key ingredient.”

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

1 onion, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
a sprig of rosemary or 2 bay leaves
600g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.4 litres water or light stock
170g pasta (quadrucci, pastina, farfalle or broken spaghetti)
salt and black pepper
Pecorino or parmesan, grated

Warm the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium-low heat.  Fry the onion, celery and carrot, along with a pinch of salt, until soft and translucent.  Add the rosemary of bay leaves and the potatoes, stirring so each chunk is coated with oil and fry for a couple more minutes.

Add the water or stock and another small pinch of salt, bring to a lively simmer, then reduce to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or until the potato is very soft – you can break it up slightly with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add the pasta, raise the heat slightly and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked, stirring and adding a little more water if it looks too thick.

Taste for salt (remembering you are probably going to add salty cheese) and grind over some black pepper.  Serve with some grated pecorino or parmesan stirred in, or simply a streak of olive oil.

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