Don't know about you - but we always seem to stock up on all these great dried pulses during the year - a recipe calls for a few 100 grams and you forget about the rest on the shelf, you go to a great organic store and have the best intentions for cooking tasty dishes with these beautiful bags of colorful beans and other dried pulses - and they also just end up on the shelf.
That is why january is soup month here in Todi - besides nothings beats a cold winter's day better, than a steaming bowl and thick veggie soup - and soups are a great way to get to use all those small bags of dried pulses in your larder - And the plan is not to buy any new bags before the shelves are empty.
The other day at our weekly vegetable market - we found some great super sized butternut squash - we are talking pumpkin size - perfect for a winter soup with some of our bags of goodies.
Like all great soups the "soffritto" is the key player - so heat a few table spoons of extra virgin olive oil in a big saucepan - we always prefer to cook soups in a wide sauce pan with low sides. Now saute a few chopped onions, some sliced garlic, a pinch of dried chili and some rosemary for 15 minutes on low to medium heat - you don't want the veggies to brown - just soften.
Now add your diced pumpkin and a few fresh bay leaves and mix well - and saute for a further 15 minutes. In the mean time drain and rinse your soaked pulses.
Now add the pulses to the pan and mix - making sure the pulses are covered in the oil and vegetables. Pour in cold water - just to cover and bring back to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about an hour with a lid - stir every once in a while and add a little more water if necessary.
You want the pulses to be very tender and the pumpkin to slightly thicken the soup.
Season with sea salt and black pepper and a little lemon juice.
Serve in big bowls and drizzled with a good strong olive oil.