|-JUDI M. PHELPS|
|8 ounces||Navy beans or|
|Dry cranberry beans; (these are hard to find but make an excellent soup if you they are available (check an Italian deli or gourmet market|
|Water ; for soaking beans|
|3 tablespoons||Olive oil|
|1 large||Onion; chopped|
|1||Celery rib; chopped|
|3 cloves||Garlic; chopped|
|2 cups||Canned Italian plum tomatoes drained|
|½ teaspoon||Dried oregano|
|¼ teaspoon||Dried basil|
|8 cups||Chicken stock; preferably homemade|
|4 tablespoons||Italian parsley; chopped|
|8 ounces||Small pasta shells or|
|Other small shaped pasta|
|Salt to taste; optional|
|Freshly ground pepper|
|Parmesan cheese; freshly grated (use the best imported Parmesan cheese you can afford, it's worth the cost|
Soak beans overnight in water to cover. Next day drain water and rinse beans.
In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat and add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cook and stir gently for 3 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and begin to color slightly. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, stock, parsley, and soaked beans. I usually add 1 cup of cold water at this point to the bean mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 1-½ hours or until beans are soft.
About 30 minutes before soup is done, in a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse. Add to the soup mixture. Add freshly ground pepper and salt if you so desire. I do not cook with salt at all so the soup goes without it. Guests that wish a saltier soup can add it at the table. Serve soup with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
This soup is one of our favorites on a cold wintery night, I usually serve with a mixed green salad, crusty sourdough bread, a simple fruit cup or baked apple for dessert, and of course a good Italian Chianti or Barbera Wine. Serves approximately 6 people.
From the kitchen of Judi & Jerry Phelps. jphelps@... or jphelps@...
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