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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pasta e Fagioli

So, its been nearly forever since I posted a new recipe on this thing. To be honest, I've been thinking more about the blog recently... missing the time I used to dedicate to my kitchen, missing the motivation to try new recipes, wishing I could get back into it. This, combined with the fact that I was (sort of) holed up in my apartment all weekend due to snow storm Jonas (25 inches in NYC!) AND that some of my dearest friends from grad school were visiting (who were major tasting partners during my prime blogging days), made me decide to snap a few photos of my kitchen creations this weekend and write a post or two.

I made this soup under the tutelage of my lovely friend Erin. Her whole family is Italian and she is one of my best experts on all foods within this cuisine. It reminded me how much I have missed cooking with her. The soup was wonderful. Warm and rich and perfect for a cold and snowy day. It was also incredibly easy and fast to make. I highly recommend it.

4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
6-7 cups chicken broth
2 (14oz) cans cannellini beans
8oz ditalini pasta (or other small tube pasta)
grated parmesan
fresh parsley

In a large soup pot cook the pancetta over medium heat until it is lightly browned and has rendered much of the fat. Remove the pieces of pancetta, save for later. Add the chopped onion, celery, bay leaf and some salt to the pot with the pancetta fat (add olive oil if needed) and cook until softened and just lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add some white wine to deglaze the pot. Add the crush tomatoes, 1 can of beans, and a few cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Using a blender/stick blender puree some of the soup-- this helps to thicken it up. Return to pot, add the remaining chicken broth, some crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper (to taste) and the other can of beans and boil for about 20-30 minutes until the soup tastes really great.

Meanwhile, boil some water with salt and cook the pasta until al dente. When it is ready, add the pasta to the rest of the soup, give it a stir, let it cook another minute or two and taste for salt and pepper. Serve in bowls topped with pancetta, parsley, and parmesan cheese. And it goes really well with a piece (or two) of quick parmesan toast (baguette cut in half length-wise, add a bit of olive oil/salt/pepper/garlic powder/grated parmesan and bake in 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned).