Trust me I was so glad I made that decision. This soup is so good and is going to become one of my favorite comfort foods now. If you like soup and/or Italian flavors you have got to make this. I put crushed red pepper flakes in mine and it just gives it a little heat, but if you don't like that you can omit them and it would be just as good.
Make sure to have some nice crusty bread to sop up all of that tasty broth, and have your appetite with you too!!
Pasta e Fagioli
- 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
- 2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
- 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
- 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1 rib celery, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- Coarse salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups ditalini
- 1 generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
- Crusty bread, for mopping
Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup, add the parsley, and place pot on table on a trivet. Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese. Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.