Pasta in soups

Pasta in soups

By
Antonio Carluccio
Contains
16 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849493703
Photographer
Laura Edwards

I have always liked soups, a fondness which started in the nursery, when my mother would cook us soups based on cabbage or other vegetables, with rice or pasta. These were warm, filling and delicious and, at the same time, very nutritious. As an adult, I lived abroad, but whenever I came home to visit her, she always seemed to be waiting with a saucepan of pastina in brodo. This comforting broth, strongly reduced as consommé, brings back such strong memories of home, and of my mother herself.

Soups in Italy are roughly divided into various types. Zuppa is usually a broth containing ingredients which have not been liquidised, and often has a slice of bread at the bottom. A passata is a zuppa which has been liquidised (often called a crema as well). A minestra is a soup normally based on broth and green vegetables. (A minestrone is a big minestra!) Italian soups of any kind – whether of meat, fish or vegetable, fresh or leftover – are eaten mostly in the evening as part of a light meal, perhaps followed by a herb omelette and salad. Many soups call for a delicious homemade stock, but often water will do just as well (and, perhaps surprisingly, I am not averse to using good-quality stock cubes or powder instead of stock, should the need arise).

But we are talking here of soups involving pasta in one form or other, and many special soup pastas are available. These are very small, and include acini di pepe, alfabeto or lettere, ditalini and orzo. They are all, almost without exception, made from durum wheat semolina, in a machine, extruded at high pressure through tiny dies, and then cut and dried. Some pasta per brodo may be made with egg, and some may be made from a flour containing no gluten, to cater for those with coeliac disease or wheat intolerance.

Adding pasta to soup obviously helps to thicken it, but it also adds a very nice texture. If you haven’t got pasta per brodo, you could always break up larger pieces of dried pasta, lasagne or pappardelle for instance. You could also break up dried tagliolini or capelli d’angelo to use in an intense chicken broth – the Italian version of chicken noodle soup!

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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