I know the vast majority of us wake up on Friday morning, already braced for the after work dinner and drinks which so frequently accompany the birth of the weekend. My relationship with food being what it is, when Friday morning arrives and I'm frantically throwing a glass of smoothie down my neck as I run out the door, I start to get excited. My mind wanders from the predictable 'it's Friday' celebrations onto Saturday morning breakfast, where I am all ready to upgrade my smoothie to something a little more indulgent. I love weekend breakfasts. I get up, take my time and have a good old rummage in the fridge, where I can turn almost anything into breakfast bounty. Today however, I am opting for something a little more traditional, to help counteract the after effects of last nights 'house red'. A bacon roll, served traditionally on a bap with a good squeeze of tomato ketchup and a cup of tea. Is there a better start to a Saturday morning?
Clearly this did the trick, and with a spring in my step, I headed towards Valvona and Crolla on Elm Row. Living so close to this Edinburgh institution is detrimental both to my wallet and my waste line, but there is something irresistible about the smell of the cured meats and cheeses that waft towards you as you walk through the door. This is followed by a dose of nostalgia, as I recall a much smaller version of myself peering into the glass cabinets, even then appreciating the beauty of it all. That was the start of my food obsession, aged 5.
Quite often I visit Valvona and Crolla just for the rush. Todays visit is somewhat more specific, where only V&C can deliver. I have a craving for a soup I used to have as a girl, (nostalgia kicking in again), of stelline pasta (tiny, flat star shaped pasta) with cannellini beans and parmesan. This is a humble yet tasty dish, guaranteed to leave you with that warm feeling in your belly that only soup can deliver, especially on a cold winters day. To make this soup you need:
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
A glug of olive oil
125g of pancetta, cubed
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
300g stelline pasta (or any other small pasta shape if you can't get stelline)
1 litre of chicken stock
400g tin of cannellini beans
30g of parmesan, grated
1 parmesan rind (optional, but really adds to the intensity of the flavour)
Now here are the three simple steps to making this beautiful rustic soup:
This soup really is so easy, and will serve 4-6 people, depending on how greedy you are! It is a one pot wonder that never fails to deliver on flavour. I'll be eating this soup all winter, I can guarantee!