I love Italian food, I could eat pasta every single day. Some of my favourite Italian recipes are vegetarian “by default” like pasta puttanesca and pizza margarita. The key is always the quality of the ingredients – but they are the simplest and easiest dishes. And of course any pasta and risotto dish can be easily turned into a meat free version of itself. Not to mention the Italian desserts! Gimme all the mascarpone!Jump to Recipe
I have received a wonderful hamper from Ciao Gusto – the Italian Deli on Ocado, containing fantastic Italian food products. (To my pleasant surprise: packaged in recyclable materials in 95%. The thing is, plastic is not only bad for the environment, it’s not really good for your food either. No wonder that the best quality olive oils are coming in tin or tinted, dark green bottle because it’s better protected from sun and heat.)
My favourites would be the Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil – I’ve been using this brand for years now and it’s the best quality olive oil you can get in supermarkets. Adding a few spoonfuls of it to the pan is definitely the first step to almost everything I cook!
Second favourite is the Fabbri Amarena Fruit & Syrup a true delicacy with excellent texture and flavour. Perfect for cheese cakes, ice cream, or with mascarpone.
And then of course the Zonin Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry Prestige which was our wedding anniversary eve treat. This prosecco is perfect in so many ways. It’s extra dry so it tastes almost like champagne, but even better because it has a lovely fruity, flowery aroma too.
Now in the hamper there are a few other bits were included, like fresh tortellini filled with spinach and ricotta cheese – which had to be cooked fairly quickly, so I came up with this recipe – using some more items from the hamper.
This is such an easy, hearty, perfect winter warmer soup – without meat! I enjoyed it so much, thinking, how on Earth have I not cooked this before??It’s absolutely brilliant and very healthy for the spinach is thrown is at the very end and because of the beans and the peas. All you have to do is throw everything into the casserole dish and really little chopping involved too. Preparing the soup takes about 50-55 minutes from scratch and of course you can leave it on a hob for 20 minutes when the most of the cooking is being done. I used spinach-ricotta fresh tortellini – but you are free to use whatever is your preferred one. If you want to throw in a few thin slices of chorizo and parmigiano that could work well too.
This is a great, winter warming recipe, hearty and full of flavours!
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- 400 gram canned bortolotti beans drained
- 400 gram fresh or canned petit pois
- 350 gram passata
- 1 large beef tomato chopped
- 280 ml double cream
- 50 g hard cheese (parmigiano or vegan hard cheese) grated
- 250 g tortellini
- 2 handfuls fresh or frozen spinach
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 handful fresh basil chopped or in whole leaves
- 1 handful fresh parsley chopped or in whole leaves
- 1 tsp dry basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
This is fairly straight forward recipe.
In a large casserole pan heat the olive oil, add the onions and fry them for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
Add the beans, the petit pois, cheese, herbs, spices, chopped tomato, passata and stock. Bring it to boil, cover with lid and cook it for about 20-30 minutes.
Add the cream and simmer it for a further 8 minutes, without the lid.
Last step: stir in the spinach and tip in the tortellini (I used spinach and ricotta tortellini), cover with lid and cook for 2 more minutes – the tortellini literally need just 2 minutes cooking! Otherwise they break into pieces.
Serve it immediately with some herb garnish and grated hard cheese.