Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bangers And Mash

Tribute to Sophia Loren & Peter Sellers

The song Bangers & Mash by Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren used to send me into fits of laughter each time I heard it on the radio. My Mum made vermicelli and macaroni at home but what was minestrone and tagliatelli? I had no idea. At that time there was no internet and cookery books were rare. All I know is the song had me in fits each time I heard it and it was years later that I had the opportunity to actually cook Italian food. I can even pronounce the words and unlike the song where native food causes marital disharmony, in our house Minestrone is a roaring success.

Minestrone is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables like beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes often with the addition of pasta or rice. (I prefer pasta and use tinned tomato puree). There are many recipes for minestrone, since it is usually made out of seasonal vegetables (I use carrots, French beans, onions & celery). . It can be vegetarian or made with chicken broth as well. I like to add hard boiled eggs to make the meal more filling.Minestrone is as popular as pasta on Italian tables.

The Recipe
1 cup celery, onion, carrots and French beans, minced fine; 3 flakes garlic, minced;
1 cup whatever pasta is in your kitchen; 1 cup tinned tomato puree; 2 chicken soup cubes. 1 cup boiled chicken, shredded; 2 tbsp olive oil; ¼ cup warm water; 2 cups water;1tsp Italian herbs ;2 tbsp grated cheese.

Stir fry finely minced onion, celery and carrot in olive oil until golden brown. Add chicken and gently fry for a minute. Add soup cubes dissolved in ¼ cup warm water and mix well. Stir in the tomato puree, pasta & water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until thick- about 15 minutes- on a low flame stirring all the while. Add herbs, season with pepper and salt if desired. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese. Garnish with hard boiled eggs cut in half. Not only looks good on your table but fills up the empty spaces in your stomach.

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