Tonight I made a recipe that caught my attention. It was a recipe for a classic Italian dish called pasta e fagioli. This recipe was presented by Ina Garten and it is also in her cookbook that we received at Christmas. It is a hearty and very tasty dish. While it would probably really hit the spot if the weather was cold, Paula and I still enjoyed it for dinner this afternoon.

Here is what you will need to make it…

 

  • 1 (1 pound) bag of 15 or 16 Bean Soup Mix
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4-6 ounces of pancetta, diced
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of dry red wine
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of ditalini or tubettini
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

This recipe requires that you prepare the beans the day before you are going to cook them. Place the beans from the soup mix in a large bowl, add cold water to cover by 2 inches and soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans and rinse under cold running water. Drain the beans then place them in a large pot with 8 cups of cold water.

Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat. Simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally and skim off any foam that rises to the top. After the beans have cooled slightly, drain them and set aside.

After the beans are cooked, heat the olive oil in a medium stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pancetta and the onion. Saute over medium to medium-high heat for 12 to 18 minutes, until browned. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for one more minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, 4 cups of the chicken stock, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Turn off the heat.

Add the beans to the soup. Using a stick blender, blend the soup for 3-4 bursts of the blender. (Note: You don’t want to puree all of the beans, just enough to allow them to thicken the soup. Alternately, you could put 1/3 of the beans in a food processor before adding them to the soup.) Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender. Add more chicken stock if the soup is too thick. Stir in the Parmesan and the vinegar.

Ladle the soup into large shallow bowls and add a swirl of olive oil if desired as well as an additional sprinkle of Parmesan.

This was quite tasty and a very rich and filling dish. It would make a great meal for a family. Since it is just the two of us, Paula and I didn’t finish the soup. We will either eat it later this week or Theodore will eat some of it since he is usually looking for “free” food around the house these days.

 

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