One Friday a month, give or take, I work from home. I have a hospital appointment in the afternoon close to where I live so it makes sense to avoid crossing London several times and use my day more productively.
I have the greatest admiration for people who from home though. I'm not sure I could handle more than a couple of days a month, let alone do it full time. I would never get out of my pyjamas.
True I wake up pretty much every morning and moan about the fact that I have to get up and go to work but, at the same time, I know that I do really need the ebb and flow of office life in order to be happy. The odd day of working from home, thankfully, doesn't upset that balance but it does serve to make me appreciate my routine all the more.
Saying that, the great advantage that working from home has is that I have ready access to my kitchen and its contents. I have never been one of those people who is organised enough to make lunch in the morning before work and so I have come to rely on the local supermarkets and coffee shops to sustain me through the working day. When I'm at home though, there is nothing more appealing than breaking away from the laptop for half an hour and whipping up something delicious for lunch.
This is probably a very inauthentic version of pasta e fagioli, that classic Italian hearty bean and pasta soup, but I love it all the same and it makes an ideally satisfying lunch. It is a bit of a 'make it up as you go alone' recipe so you can add whatever vegetables or flavourings suit your palette. I've used passata, sieve tomatoes, to form the base of the soup but a tin of chopped tomatoes would work equally well.
A couple of words of advice though. I was pretty heavy handed with the pasta (and yes, it is shaped like stars and moons) although I have adjusted the quantities in the recipe to a more sensible level. The soup freezes well but I would advise freezing prior to the addition of the pasta otherwise it just tends to suck up all the moisture. When you want to eat it, you can just defrost, add the pasta and simmer until the pasta is cooked.
Pasta e fagioli
Serves 4 -6
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
- 500ml stock (chicken or vegetable is fine)
- 500g passata
- 240g can of white beans, rinsed
- 150g small pasta
- In a large pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat. Fry the onion for a couple of minutes and then add the leek, carrots, garlic and chilli powder and sautee until soft.
- Add the stock and passta, reduce the heat to simmer and allow the liquid it reduce by 1/4.
- Add the beans and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the pasta and continue to simmer until the pasta is al dente.
- Season with salt and pepper if required and serve.