Sunday, December 18, 2011

pasta e fagioli soup

I have an irrational distaste for certain pasta shapes. I almost never buy macaroni - even if I'm making "macaroni" and cheese. You can forget rigatoni. Farfalle is another scorned pasta, but sometimes it does find its way into my kitchen. Then it sits there for 6 months while I purchase more desirable shapes like shells or spaghettini.

Eventually I come to the realisation that I should probably use the farfalle. This happened the other day and resulted in a comforting and filling pasta e fagioli, which was inspired by the lovely and amazing Shutterbean.

I loved loved loved this soup and announced, upon my first bite, that it would be entering into the regular rotation. I forgot the parsley and olive oil topping, but feel free to sprinkle and drizzle to your heart's content.

pasta e fagioli
Adapted from Shutterbean.

1/2 cup finely cubed pancetta (often you can buy it in stores this way)
1 yellow onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
19 oz can of chopped tomatoes (including the juice)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (I used a 900 mL carton, it was fine)
15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup dried pasta (shutterbean recommends macaroni or medium shells, farfalle worked well also)
freshly grated asiago or parmegiano reggiano cheese
chopped Italian parsley and extra virgin olive oil

  • In a large, heavy bottomed pot, sautee pancetta on medium heat until the pan becomes slick. Add the onions and garlic, and continue to sautee until they become translucent.
  • Add tomatoes, sage, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat a little and let it go for about 20 minutes.
  • Pour in chicken broth and cannellini beans and allow to simmer for another half hour.
  • About 10 to 12 minutes before serving, add in dried pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente.
  • Serve with asiago (or parmesan) and, if you like, some chopped Italian parsley and olive oil.

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