Eat It and Weep Pasta E Fagioli

One of the only things that I like about winter is it gives me a chance to make and enjoy hearty soups.

This is one of my favorites. I’m a sucker for tomatoes and pasta. This Italian classic found it’s highest calling in a recipe I found in Cook’s Illustrated.

Other than using a bit less water than called for (since I like this soup really thick), it is substantially unchanged.

A can of anchovies is seldom used all at once. Place the unused ones in plastic wrap and a plastic bag and place in the freezer.

Also, parmesan rinds can often be found in grocery stores now (or ask the cheese seller). Get a container of them, use what you need, wrap the rest in plastic and a plastic bag and save in the freezer for use as you need it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil (if using panchetta–if using bacon omit this)
  • 4-5 slices panchetta or bacon
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, micro-planed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomato
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 1 c water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c orzo or other small pasta
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • grated Parmesan for topping

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mince the panchetta or bacon and fry up about half way. If there is more than 2 tbsp of oil, pour off.
  2. Add the onions and celery and cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
  3. Add the garlic, oregano, pepper flakes and anchovies, stir for a minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, rind, and beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the stock and water. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. (You can stop here, if you are like me and love to cook in the morning. Turn it off and let it set until dinner time)
  7. Bring back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook at a simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Add the parsley, stir in.
  9. Serve it up. Top with fresh grated Parmesan.

Serves: 4

Extravagant? Drizzle some fine olive oil over the bowl!

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