Home Kitchen is Donal Skehan’s latest and 11th cookbook. In his career so far, Donal has accomplished so much as a food writer. As a cook and television star, he has also led a really interesting life, including his time living in Los Angeles, California. However, what makes his latest book so special is the very personal insight into his family life, and of course, the wonderful food that fills their daily life together.

Donal shares delicious recipes from his many experiences and travels, as well as his decades as a home cook - and even his granny’s handwritten recipes. All aspects of the week are covered with chapters such as make-ahead Sundays, everyday dinners, weekday rush, slow-cooking weekend wins, and scrumptious desserts.

The following recipe, Little Kid/Big Kid Pastina Soup, from his cookbook is a perfect one for junior home cooks to try and one for all the family to enjoy. Thanks to Donal for sharing a recipe with us to share with you.

Little Kid/ Big Kid Pastina Soup

“This recipe for an after-school soup is one that I am quite happy to join in eating with our two boys. For younger eaters, soup can be a challenge, which is why this one – thick with finely chopped vegetables and tender pasta – is an easier sell. It’s a simple soup, but there are many ways to make it feel fancy. A drizzle of your best-quality extra virgin olive oil, basil leaves stirred through just before serving, and a mountain of superfine grated Parmesan – each or all of these will take this soup to another level. Save your Parmesan rinds and pop them into soups like this as they blip away on the stove to add richness and flavour.”

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 35 minutes

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 courgette, finely chopped

Pinch of chilli flakes

1 x 400g (14oz) tin cherry tomatoes

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 litre (4 cups) fresh chicken stock

150g (5oz) pastina (small pastas like stelline or orzo)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the basil oil

50g (2oz) basil leaves, plus a few extra to serve

5ml extra virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle more to serve

To serve

Four slices of sourdough

1 garlic clove, halved,

Parmesan cheese shavings

First, make the basil oil. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then blanch the basil leaves for a few seconds before transferring to a bowl of iced water. Gently squeeze out the water, then whizz in a small food processor with the extra virgin olive oil. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before straining the oil through a fine sieve.

To make the soup, heat the oil in a sauté pan (skillet) over a low heat and gently fry the onion, garlic, carrot and courgette for 10–15 minutes until softened. Add the chilli flakes and cherry tomatoes, crushing the tomatoes with the back of your spoon, then add the vinegar and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the stock and season well. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the pasta and cook for eight minutes until the pasta is just cooked. If you’re making this ahead, wait to add the pasta until you’re ready to eat.

While the soup is simmering, toast the sourdough and rub with the cut garlic clove, then drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Serve the pasta soup with the garlic toast and a drizzle of the basil oil, some basil leaves and shavings of Parmesan.

Donal Skehan's Little Kid Big Kid Pastina Soup


Serve this as soon as the pasta is cooked as otherwise the pasta will continue absorbing the liquid.

Home Kitchen: Every day cooking made simple and delicious, RRP €28.83

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