Friday night I went out with my friend Gigi for Italian food. I had a bowl of pasta fagioli before the pizza. This is a soup that always satisfies, and there are many variations possible to suit every member of the family.
In her version, Rachael Ray uses pancetta .. yum. I plan to try this recipe as written. It will be quite a test, resisting the pancetta as it melts into the olive oil. Then again, the best part of cooking at home is freedom to make adjustments as the mood strikes. Pass the bread, and kick your shoes off. You’re in my kitchen, not out at a restaurant.
While you make out your grocery shopping list, remember to check in with MsLatina for more Sabroso Saturday recipes and links.
- 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
- 2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
- 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
- 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1 rib celery, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- Coarse salt and pepper
- 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups ditalini
- Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
- Crusty bread, for mopping
Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup and place pot on table on a trivet. Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese. Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.