Minna’s Favorite Recipes….Pasta and Bean Soup
This recipe was requested by Mary C. Thank you.
PASTA AND BEAN SOUP
Pasta e Fagioli
This delicious recipe is from Nancy Verde Barr’s wonderful cookbook We Called It Macaroni.
As she explains in the chapter on soups, this is considered “la cucina povera” – poor or working-class cooking…I’ll take it any day! Enjoy!
2 ounces pancetta, minced (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ small hot red pepper or 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small rib celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1¼ pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped*
1½ pounds fresh cranberry beans or ¾ cup dried cranberry beans, precooked, or 2½
cups canned white beans, drained
4 cups meat broth or water
¾ cup short macaroni
Freshly grated pecorino cheese
1. Put pancetta, if using, and olive oil in a soup pot and cook over gentle heat until the pancetta renders fat but does not brown (about 4 minutes). Add the hot pepper, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to the olive oil and cook gently 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add tomatoes and salt and cook 10 minutes.
2. If using fresh beans, shell, rinse, and add to the tomatoes, and cook together 3 minutes. Add the hot broth or water and cook until the beans are tender (45-60 minutes). If using precooked dried beans or canned beans, add to the tomatoes, cook 3 minutes, add the broth and cook 15 minutes.
3. Add the macaroni to the soup and continue cooking until the pasta is al dente. Remove the soup from the heat and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve with freshly grated pecorino cheese.
*If fresh tomatoes are not in season, use good quality canned.