Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Soups - Part 3

Here is an Italian classic. Pasta e fagioli simply means pasta and beans. My version doesn't use bacon or pancetta. I put several dashes of liquid smoke to give the soup a very slight smokey flavor. You can omit this, or use to your own taste.

Pasta E Fagioli

6 Sprigs fresh thyme
2 Rosemary sprigs
1 Bay leaf
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Cup onion, chopped (two small onions)
12 or more drops of liquid smoke hickory flavor
2 Cloves garlic, minced
5 1/2 Cups chicken broth (1 box plus 1 can)
2 14 1/2 ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed, reserve 3/4 cup (if you can find the no salt added, use this)
3/4 Cup ditalini pasta
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil and butter in a medium pot over medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add broth, beans and herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf, and stems from herbs. Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree 3/4 cup of beans with 1/4 cup of liquid from soup until smooth, and add to the soup. Add pasta, bring back to boil and cook for about 8 minutes until pasta is tender. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

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