Pasta & fagioli (soup)

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
8 ounces Navy beans or
\N \N 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
\N \N Water ; for soaking beans
3 tablespoons Olive oil
1 large Onion; chopped
1 \N 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
\N \N Other small shaped pasta
\N \N Salt to taste; optional
\N \N Freshly ground pepper
\N \N 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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