Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pasta e fagioli

Here in New York we've had some very unusual weather for October! We had a snow storm that took us all by surprise.  With the snow coming so early, with trees still full of their leaves the weight of the snow created some havoc. Streets are closed with fallen limbs and some dancing live wires!
I am thankful that we are all safe and did not loose power.

Due to the storm and not being able to get around yesterday the cupboards were bare. I had to make do with what I had on hand.
Is there anything better than a hearty bowl of soup on a cold day? Because my supplies were limited I decided to make a nice big pot of Pasta e Fagioli. In an Italian kitchen there is always a bag of beans, pasta, and tomato sauce.
I started with an onion and a few cloves of garlic. I chopped them and added them to a large stock pot that was heating a tablespoon of olive oil.  I sliced 2 slices of thick cut bacon and added the bacon to the onions and garlic. I let everything cook together, making sure the bacon cooked.

Then I added the beans. I had soaked the beans in water over night to give them a head start. If you forgot to soak your beans it's ok, it will just take much longer to make your soup. If you didn't soak your beans plan on the soup cooking for a good 2 1/2 hours, maybe longer.  You can use a can of

Cannellini Beans if you want. I prefer not too,  but that is a personal choice.

After adding the beans I added 6 cups of water and a little tub of Knors Homestyle Chicken Stock. It added nice flavor! I added a bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I brought  the broth to a boil and then covered the pot and let the beans simmer for 50 minutes.

I also like to add a piece of the "rind" from the grating cheese I use. I always save pieces of the "rind" or "skin" in my freezer and drop them into the dish that I am making.  After tasting the beans to make sure that they were tender I added a large can of crushed tomatoes. Bring the broth back to a boil and add your pasta. I like to use Ditalini for this dish.
I cooked the pasta for 8 minutes, and then turned off the heat.
Sprinkle the soup with a little fresh chopped parsley and some freshly grated parmesan cheese and you'll be enjoying a delicious tasting, hearty and satisfying soup.
Buon Appetito

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