Friday, May 23, 2014

Italian Bean and Pasta Soup

This is a different variation of a pasta fagioli and personally, I like this one much better.  The vegetables and seasonings make this blended version OH SO GOOD!  And it is very bowl filled me up for hours.

The recipe was really easy to cut in half, but instead next time I'll make the entire batch.  This would freeze very nicely.  PLAN AHEAD....the beans need to soak for several hours.

ITALIAN BEAN and PASTA SOUP (8 servings)

1 pound dried pinto or cranberry beans (about 3 cups), picked over and rinsed
10 cups water
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tsp salt, divided
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 piece Parmiagiano Reggiano rind, roughly 2"x3", optional, or shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish
1 pound dried ditalini pasta, cooked and tossed with oil
fresh chives, chopped, optional for garnish
olive oil for drizzling, optional

Bring beans and water to a boil in a large heavy soup pot and boil 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 2 hours.  Do not drain.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onions and 1/2 tsp salt; saute 8 minutes.  Add carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and pepper; saute, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Add beans with their soaking water and cheese rind (if using) and simmer, covered, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beans are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup oil and remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Let cool.

Remove and discard cheese rind.  Transfer soup to a blender or food processor and puree; return to the pot (or use an immersion blender and puree the soup in the pot).  Reheat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with spoonfuls of pasta and cheese and chives (if using) and drizzle with olive oil (if desired).

Recipe Source: Relish magazine supplement, February 2014, p. 4

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