Pasta e Fagioli II
During the winter months I make soup pretty regularly. It’s hearty, healthy and the kids usually love it, too. I have another recipe for Pasta e Fagioli on here that uses sausage but this one is made with pancetta and fresh herbs and has become my new #1.
I adapted this recipe from a Giada de Laurentiis recipe, so if you prefer a “white” pasta e fagioli, just leave out anything I labeled as optional (I happen to prefer mine red). This soup will definitely warm you up and fill you up – plus, it comes together very quickly. Keep warm this weekend!
Pasta e Fagioli II
Yield: 6 Servings
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 oz. pancetta, chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup carrots, roughly chopped (optional; I added these in for flavor, color and to get more veggies into the kids)
- 2 - 19 oz. cans white kidney beans (cannellini beans), rinsed and strained
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1/8 - 1/4 cup tomato paste (optional)
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 cup ditalini
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese for topping
- Combine the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium high heat and when it's hot, add in the pancetta - cook until it's browned and crispy then remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Leave the butter and oils in the pot over medium-low heat.
- Place the onion, garlic and carrots in a food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Alternatively, if you don't mind a chunkier soup, you could just chop everything up into small pieces. Personally, I like all of these ingredients to blend right into the soup base so the beans and pasta take the stage.
- Add the vegetable puree to the pot and cook in the heated oil and butter - saute the veggies for about 5-10 minutes over medium high-heat.
- While this is sauteeing, tie together the herbs with kitchen twine - if you have cheesecloth, you can wrap it up in that (I never do so I just tie it together as is).
- Pour the chicken broth into the pot and add in the kidney beans, pancetta and fresh herbs - add in 1/8 cup of the tomato paste and see if that's enough color for you, if you want it to be more red, add in another 1/8 cup. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove about 1 cup of the bean mixture, allow it to cool for about 5 minutes and then puree it in the food processor until it's smooth.
- Remove the bunch of herbs and add the pasta to the pot and boil for 5-7 minutes with the lid on, you want the pasta to be al dente.
- Add the pureed beans back into the soup and stir well. At this point I like to turn the heat off and let it sit with the lid on for about 10-15 minutes then it's ready to top with Parmesan and enjoy!