Pasta e Fagioli

MMmmm. There’s nothing I love better than an easy to make, delicious soup. This is a common dish in our household.

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  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped (bacon works great as well)
  • 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 ½ cups ditalini
  • Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
  • Crusty bread, for mopping

1. Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly.

2. Add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. (Cook for 5-8 minutes.)

 

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3. 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. (I like to cook my pasta separate then add to the soup, to prevent the pasta from soaking up all the soup’s liquid.)

4. 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.

5. 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.

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