So simple, so quick, so good. We are only a week away from the Winter Solstice, here in the Northern Hemisphere. Up here, in Yorkshire, we have less than 7 hours and 30 minutes daylight.
Even though we know the days will draw out from the solstice, it’s a slow business and it will be the end of the year before we have gained an extra minute of daylight. It’s not surprising that our ancestors watched the heavens carefully for signs that the cycle of the seasons was on course.
If the days did not start to lengthen, there would be no crops and no food in the coming year. It was a matter of life or death. We, in our modern global world with fruit and vegetables grown in artificial conditions or flown across the world still seem to sense the feeling. I don’t think it is just the cold temperatures that make us hunger for filling, comfort food. Somewhere at the heart of our beings is that primitive, inner, fear.
What if, this year, the seasons cease to turn?
I feel that instinct, in my need for hearty meals. If I was cooking Soffritto or any dish with beans in the summer, I would be using a light oil ~ probably groundnut, grape or sunflower. My latest batch has Virgin Rapeseed Oil and butter as it’s base. I’m not chopping tomatoes to cook in this dish. I’m using the cloudy, starch filled water which the beans were cooked in with a dash of tomato paste. The taste is creamier than Tuscan Beans with Tomatoes and Sage, somehow more hearty.
Using the beans cooking water also avoids me being labelled an ‘Inglese barbaro’, as a friend of mine was described by her Italian mother in law when she drained the beans down the sink!
Preparation time : 20 min
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Difficulty? : Easy
Portions : 2