Monday, December 19, 2011

Italian bean and pasta soup

Italian bean and pasta soup


2 cups dried cranberry, cannellini or other small
white beans(canned works fine)
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped pancetta
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups water or chicken stock, or as needed
1 1/2 cups diced canned plum tomatoes
2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lb. small dried pasta, such as shells or
Extra-virgin olive oil for serving
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

Pick over the beans and discard any misshapen beans and stones. Rinse the beans, drain and place in a saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain.(If using canned beans as we did please omit this step)

In a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the water, beans, tomatoes and 2 tsp. salt and bring to a boil.Season with Salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of sage and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Simmer 20 minutes. Add stock and beans cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes. add pasta and simmer for 12 minutes.

To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top each serving with a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil, some grated cheese and a generous grinding of pepper.

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