This simple, thick pasta soup, comprised of the very cheapest of ingredients, is made all over Italy with few variations on the central theme. It is intended to be a satisfying, cheap, nourishing and tasty soup that relies on the addition of other available ingredients to enrich and improve on the basic recipe. You could easily, for example, use rich chicken or meat stock instead of water if you like, or add some meaty bones to the simmering soup, or you could may choose to include other vegetables, such as shredded cabbage, ripe tomatoes or chopped courgettes, towards the end of cooking. Very much the same recipe can be used and adapted if you are making a basic pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) or pasta e lenticchie (pasta and lentils).
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