Savoring Soup

ImageI can’t think of much that warms me up on a bitter winter day like a bowl of soup. The problem is my husband doesn’t like it. He just doesn’t find the appeal.

But I couldn’t help but wonder if it was all soup he didn’t like or just brothy soups. Maybe he would feel differently about a hearty soup that was closer to a chili or a stew.

Enter pasta e fagioli, the Italian pasta and bean soup that to me says comfort with every spoonful. My version gets a smokey kick from a little bacon and lots of flavor from rosemary and thyme. Some of the beans are pureed with the broth to give it a thickness, and the pasta is cooked in the soup as well, absorbing much of the broth.

Would he like this thick rich soup? He ate two bowls. But when I asked him if he wanted me to pack it for lunch for him tomorrow, he said he would prefer a sandwich.

That’s OK. More for me.

PASTA E FAGIOLI

Makes 4 servings

You can use any canned beans and small cut pasta you like in this recipe. If you have leftovers, the pasta is likely to absorb the rest of the broth and be a little soft the next day. But it’s still good. Just add a splash of water when reheating.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 bacon slices, chopped

6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth

2 cans (15 ounces each) red kidney, garbanzo or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 springs fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary

1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup elbow macaroni

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and bacon. Cook until the onion and garlic are tender and some of the fat is rendered from the bacon. Add beans, broth and herbs to soup. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Puree 1 cup soup until smooth. Return to soup. Bring to a simmer. Add pasta. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender but still firm to bite, about 8 minutes.

Remove herb sprigs and bay leaf from soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.



Categories: Recipes

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