Monday, December 8, 2008
Macaroni & Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)
I was feeling a little sick today (or maybe just sorry for myself as I haven't seen my sweet sweet husband for weeks...or maybe because Providence had a "high" of 0 today) so I decided to make a very comforting soup that reminds me of my childhood.
When I was little, a few soups were at the top of my yumm yumm list including Greek Egg Lemon (reminder I'll have to make and post soon), Wonton Soup, but (what we call...) Macaroni & Bean was always the tip top.
Below: Finn helping out in the kitchen (doesn't he go so well with the checkered floor!)
So this is a nontraditional version of the soup but delicious nonetheless.
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch cayenne pepper
1 28 oz. can san marzano tomatoes **see fun fact below
28 oz. water or vegetable stock
1 can white beans
1/3 lb. whole wheat chiocciole pasta (use brown rice pasta if G-F)
1. Coat the bottom of a soup pan with olive oil. Stir in chopeed garlic and onion. Let cook until the onion is translucent - 5 minutes.
2. Add chopped carrots and celery - saute for 15 minutes.
3. Add herbs (just throw in the bay leaves and springs of thyme, the thyme leaves will fall off into the soup as it cooks, add oregano).
4. Add can of tomatoes. Fill empty can of tomatoes with water / stock and add (this will get all the last bits of tomato out!)
5. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes
While the soup is simmering, cook pasta until al dente
Add beans and pinch of cayenne pepper to soup
When the soup has reduced and is the thickness you like, add the pasta and cook together for a few minutes
Taste and add salt & pepper
Serve in big bowls and top with a couple tablespoons of grated (or shaved with a vegetable peeler) parmesean cheese. (Of course, you can leave out the parm to make this vegan).
**San Marzano tomatoes, a variety of plum tomatoes, are considered by many chefs to be the best sauce tomatoes in the world. The story goes that the first seed of the San Marzano tomato came to Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Kingdom of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was planted in the area that corresponds to the present commune of San Marzano. They come from a small town of the same name near Naples, Italy, and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. The volcanic soil is believed to act as a filter for water impurities. Compared to the Roma Tomatoes with which most people are familiar, Marzano tomatoes are thinner and pointier in shape. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is much stronger, more sweet and less acidic. Many people describe the taste as bittersweet, like high-quality chocolate. Because of their high quality and origins near Naples, San Marzano tomatoes have been designated as the only tomatoes that can be used for Vera Pizza Napoletana (True Neapolitan Pizza).