[Recipe review] Tomato, courgette, white bean and basil soup (The perfect pantry)

This is a picture of Lablascovegmenu's Flickr that shows a bowl of Tomato, zucchini, white bean and basil soup

Baked beans had shown to lower total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, according to wikipedia, so I’ve been looking for new ways to cook white beans with vegetables, other than common meat-based spanish fabada (or soyrizo for based vegan fabada).

I followed this perfect pantry’s recipe. Well, more or less, as always. I didn’t use cheese, nor replaced it with anything. I didn’t use heavy stock, just added extra celery, and did not use enough tomatoes, just two cherry ones. But I did use dried beans instead of canned, that gives it more vitamins, is cheaper, has better taste and I bet is more filling. Just bear in mind dried beans do grow a lot from dry to soaked, and to keep an eye not to run out of water.

– white beans
– olive oil
– courgette, chopped
– tomatoes, chopped
– dried thyme
– fresh basil leaves

Start turning on the alarm the night before you want to do this. Soak beans in water when it rings.
The day after, I started with the sauté onion and garlic then boiled soaked beans with water, tyme and celery for more than one hour. Is calles slow cooking for a reason, I guess.
Then I added the chopped courgette and tomatoes and boiled for some ten to fifteen minutes more.

Overall rating… meh. Don’t get me wrong, beans were delicious, but they always are. I guess it’s really good if you’re used to baked beans with tomato, because this recipe them an italian twist. But for me, it still lacks something, and I’m not the kind of girl to rely on heavy vegetable stock or cheese for that. Will keep on searching!


Neapolitanian-Style Aubergine

“La cucina piccola fa la casa grande” – Italian proverb

The first time I tried this was december 2010 at a small punk restaurant in Lavapiés, Madrid, called Achuri (my review). I liked its taste and simplicity and was determined to master it at home.

Neapolitanian-Style Aubergine

I’ve been doing it now for a while and never get tired of it. You just need:
– Aubergine
– Fresh or canned tomatoes
– Oregano
– Salt, pepper and olive oil

Turn first the oven to heat, so it will be ready when you need it. Slice the aubergine and grate the tomatoes or open the tomato can. If the tomatoes are whole, then you can as well blend them.

Then place first the aubergine slices in an over tray or a oven plate and cover them with the tomato sauce, salt, pepper and oregano. You can put a bit of olive oil but tastes really good too without any fat at all. Place in oven and wait for about 20 minutes. Depending on your oven that might change. What I do is I wait untill some of the top is a bit burned.

* Because I was posting this, I researched a bit about the dish and found it IS a real italian dish from Naples, not some name just sounding fancy. “Melanzane alla napoletana” (in sicily “maranciane mbuttunate”) are eggplant slices cooked in the oven with tomato sauce and oregano, sometimes with capers, sometimes with garlic, and others with cheese.