Rachel Roddy’s recipe for pasta soup with potatoes and sausage | A Kitchen in Rome

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A thrifty soup thick with collapsing potato, odds and ends of pasta, a crumble of sausage and parmesan

A consequence of writing a book about pasta is a cupboard filled with shapes. While I try to keep it under control, taking almost weekly inventories of the tubes, wheels, horses’ teeth, devils, stars, penises and spaghetti in my head-height cupboard, it quickly reverts to a game of Tetris: many open packets, many of them ready to fall. Another consequence is that I have plenty of questions for packet designers about closure, seals, paper perforation and the apparently adjustable sticker that so often isn’t. Not that I depend on stickers any more: plastic clothes pegs are my preferred way to close packets that are not going into the jar.

The pasta mista jar, which is short and tubby with a red, twist-on lid, is home to the ends of packets. While it is surely common anywhere there is pasta and a resourceful cook, pasta mista seems synonymous with Naples, where they call it pasta ammiscata or ammescata. The writer Annalisa Barbagli describes how, as recently as 50 years ago, pasta was sold loose in grocery stores, scooped from large, deep drawers with glass fronts. The remains at the bottom of these drawers, the leftovers and fragments, corners and broken bits, were all swept together. Pasta ammiscata was then given its own drawer and sold cheaply: the Neapolitan equivalent of Woolworths’ broken biscuits.

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