This is my second week of making a batch of soup early on in the week so I have it for lunches throughout the week. This week I decided to browse through some of my cookbooks to look for ideas and I came across the Pasta e Fagioli recipe in Giada De Laurentiis' "Family Dinners" cookbook.
Pasta e fagioli is a soup I have had many times, but have never made myself. This was incredibly easy and was ready in less than an hour. It will become my standby recipe for this particular soup; the only change I may make is using one can of beans instead of 2. I like beans, but it just seems like there are A LOT in this soup!
Pasta e Fagioli
(Source: Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentiis, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2006)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme (I substituted 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 large fresh rosemary sprig (I omitted this because Nick doesn't like rosemary)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 oz. pancetta or bacon, chopped (I omitted because we didn't have any)
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5-oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup elbow macaroni
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Wrap the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it with kitchen twine. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over a medium flame. Add teh onion, pancetta, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, beans, and sachet of herbs (I just added the dried thyme and bay leaf directly into the soup at this point). Cover and bring a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the sachet.
In a blender, puree 1 cup of the bean mixture until smooth, then return the puree to the saucepan. Cover and return the soup to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni, cover, and boil, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season the soup with pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.