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Pasta e Fagioli Soup

January 4, 2010

So as winter time in California goes, it was a bit chilly last night aka 55 ish degrees.  My grandparents are here visiting, so I thought it would be nice to make something hearty and body warming, so I decided to make a delicious rendition of pasta fagioli soup that I have made once before when Elizabeth was sick.  This soup is amazing and lasts a long time, guaranteed to make anyone feel better!  Prepare for a dance party in your mouth…

So this soup is a little more difficult than I had originally anticipated, but no matter what, I think it always has good flavor.  I kind of got side-tracked with so many things going on at my house and in the kitchen, so I didn’t take as many pictures as I would have liked to, but Giada will guide you along.  The first time I made this soup I made a vegetarian version and it actually ended up having a lot of flavor!  But for my family this time, we went with the added meat here.

You start by heating your olive oil and butter in a large pot, then throw in your onions, garlic, and pancetta, and saute them until the onions are tender (should be about 5 minutes).

Then add in your broth, water, beans, herbs, and vegetables and cover the pot and bring the broth to a boil.  After you hit a boil, then remove the cover and let the soup simmer until your vegetables are tender.  Then throw in your macaroni pasta and boil with the lid on until the pasta gets tender (7-8 minutes).  Meanwhile, scoop out 1 cup of the broth (try to get a lot of beans in there) and puree it in either a blender or food processor (don’t blend for about 5 minutes because the blender might explode if you put super hot liquid in there).  Then return the pureed portion of the soup back to the pot.

Season the soup with salt and pepper, and even some red pepper flakes for some added heat.  Then serve in bowls and let diners top their own soup with some nice parmesan cheese.  I promise you, this won’t disappoint!

Ingredients:

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (if you want to use dry ingredients use about 1 tsp)
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary (dry use 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 5 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I use 4 or 5 cups chicken broth, and the rest water, makes it slightly less salty)
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup elbow macaroni
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional

*When I make this without the pancetta, I use baked kidney beans, because the sauce adds a little flavor.

Pasta e Fagioli (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis): Serves about 6 people

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a heavy large saucepan or large pot over medium heat.

2.  Add the onion, pancetta, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add in the broth, beans, and  herbs. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.

4.  Puree 1 cup of the bean mixture in a blender until smooth.

5.  Add the macaroni and boil with the lid on until it is tender but still firm to the bite, about 7-8 minutes.

9.  Return the puree to the remaining soup in the saucepan and stir well. Season the soup with ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

10.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with some parmesan cheese.

I absolutely love this soup, and my family did too!  We all cleaned our bowls.  I would definitely suggest this as a nice winter meal on a cold, chilly night.  Hope you all enjoy as much as I do!

xo

Amy

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