(POSTED: February 16, 2007)
Bean and Pasta Soup
To make a vegetarian version of this soup, replace the bacon with two tablespoons of olive oil and the chicken stock with vegetable stock. Add more seasoning to taste.
1 strip bacon (1 ounce), diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cans (15 ounces each) beans, such as navy or cannellini, drained and rinsed
4 cups reduced-sodium canned chicken broth
3/4 cup tubetti, ditalini, or other short, tubular pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. In a Dutch oven or stockpot, cook bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
2. Add onion and carrots; cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Stir in tomato paste, beans, broth, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until soup has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
4. With a potato masher, mash some of the beans (still in pot) to thicken soup. Add pasta; cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
5. To serve, ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with parsley. Serves 6.
Note: Use a vegetable peeler to shave a few Parmesan curls over each serving.