I have a theory that the world divides into two types of people based on several different categories. These categories include, but are not limited to the following: those who prefer to drive with the windows open/those who prefer to drive with air conditioning; those who prefer to sleep on the side of the bed next to the wall/ those who prefer sleeping away from the wall; and those who eat soup all year round/those who can only eat soup in the winter.
I’m a drive with the windows down, sleep away from the wall and eat soup all year round kinda girl. Until recently I thought that these were innate qualities that are predetermined and attest to other parts of ones’ personality. I have been proven wrong. I not sure whether it’s the final stages of pregnancy or the lack of onset of winter, but the thought of eating soup for the past several months has made me cringe.
Finally, well into the first week of December, the winter has briefly appeared. A few hours of rain, and the craving for soup came on strong. Out of all my soup recipe arsenal- this one gets the best reviews, and is the type that will really leave you warm and cozy, after a long, cold day.
Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans Soup)
I don’t add all the pasta to the soup- rather serve it in each bowl separately. That way, if there is soup left over, it always thickens the next day and the pasta will make it over-thick. So I keep the left over pasta aside and add it into each serving.
Ingredients for 6-8 servings:
3 Tbs. olive oil
½ cup chopped pancetta (optional)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups water or chicken stock
2 cups canned small white beans, such as cannellini, rinsed and drained
1½cups diced canned tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
½lb. (500 grams) small dried pasta, such as shells
Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh ground pepper
1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté for about 8 minutes, until vegetables are translucent.
2. Add the water, beans, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, when the soup is almost ready, cook the pasta, in a separate saucepan, until al dente. Drain the pasta, and set aside until soup is ready.
4. Once soup is ready, remove 2 ladles of beans and vegetables and place in a separate bowl. Using a hand blender, blend the soup (in the pan) until slightly chunky. Return the unblended beans and vegetables to the pan). Season with salt and pepper.
5. Prepare each serving with a ½ cup of pasta, swirl of olive oil, grated parmesan cheese and fresh grated pepper.