Tuesday 12 March 2013

Zuppa Rapida

I was just finishing my latest blog, inspired by the one sunny day last week, on "Winter Salads" when it started snowing.  No-one wants salad when it is snowing, so I rummaged around in the fridge and found an abundance of onions, carrots, celery, leeks, some left over Butter beans, from one of my salads, three cabbages (oops!) and an "Unearthed" Chorizo de Leon, which was an obvious purchase of Hugh's, before he so rashly and somewhat unconvincingly decided that he was Vegetarian.  It all sang "soup" to me.  It just needed a little more bite. I love those sort of "Pasta e Fagioli" type soups that so brazenly break the "one carbohydrate is sufficient" rule. Potatoes or Beans or Pasta.  It is cold, I am hungry - so lets have them all!. So I went through the cupboards on the hunt.  I couldn't find any Barley, the kids had eaten the Orzo and I had used all the Farro in another of my Winter Salads but I was pleasantly surprised to find half a bag of Zuppa Rapida. This is a fabulous soup mix of pearl barley, lentils, green azuki beans and peas. Best of all, it does just what it says on the packet. It is fast. No need to soak and all the pulses are cooked perfectly in 30 minutes. 

All the supermarkets do their own mix of soup pulses but I also found a nice mix by Pedon of Spelt, Barley, Whole Rice, Kamut, Wheat and Oats which would work equally well in a salad or a soup but in this weather, I'll be sticking to soup.

Zuppa Rapida
This is not really a recipe so much as a use-up of everything in your fridge.  Use whatever vegetables you have to hand. There is no need to add meat but if you do any good Chorizo, Salami, Sausage or Bacon will do.
3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 sticks celery, chopped
2 leeks, shredded, washed and drained
1 Fresh red Chilli
200g Chorizo, Sausage or Bacon (cut into bite-size chunks)
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Herbs such as fresh Rosemary, Thyme or Basil or dried Oregano
1 tin good quality plum tomatoes
Smoked Paprika (to taste)
150g cooked Butter Beans (tinned or cook your own)
100g Zuppa Rapida or any good quality soup mix
Stock or just water.
Sea Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
1 Cabbage (Savoy, Pointed, Spring Greens, Kale, Cavalo Nero or Chard) Shredded
1 splash of extra virgin olive oil (to serve)

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan heat the oil, add the onion, carrots, leeks, celery and a whole fresh red chilli. Soften over a medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, without allowing them to colour. Really cooking the vegetables at this stage will help release the vegetables natural sugars and flavours and really add taste to your soup and avoid the necessity of needing stock. Add the Chorizo and allow it to release some of it's fat. Add the garlic and herbs and fry for a few minutes more before adding your tomatoes. Break up with the back of a spoon.  Add a little smoked Paprika to taste but go easy if your Chorizo was very smoky. Add the Butter beans and the soup mix. Season well with Sea Salt and Freshly ground black pepper and add some water or stock. Bring to the boil, and then turn down the heat. Cook for 30 minutes until you have a really lovely tasting soup. Finally add your cabbage, Cavalo Nero, Kale or Chard and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until cooked. Check seasoning. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil. This soup is even better the next day but you will find the pulses has absorbed all the liquid.  Just add a little more water or stock when you re-heat it.


  1. That's a fantastic blend of pulses - I must look out for it!

  2. oh my this looks sooo good!! I wana eat it right now! lol I will def give this a go however I'm sure it won't look as good as yours :-)

    Cherry Lane xx

  3. Used this recipe many times, it is an excellent blend of flavours,although I leave out the chorizo, as vegetarian. Thoroughly recommend trying it!!


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