Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weeknight Pasta & Bean Soup

It's taken me a while to post this recipe and of course, as I type this, the weather has turned in Boston and it is warm, humid and muggy.  Ugh.  Not that I'm complaining about the end to the two weeks of cloudiness and rain, but still, how does it jump twenty degrees in one night?

Of course, this being Boston, you can just "wait five minutes" for the weather to change again.  Thus, I share a simple and hearty soup that works well when you need a quick dinner and we're having another cold, rainy day.

Weeknight Pasta and Bean Soup (from one of my old issues of Cook's Country)
Serves 6 to 8

2 (16 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces hot Italian sausage (about 2 links), casings removed (I used a package of Aidell's chicken sausage I had on hand, andouille flavor)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped roesmary (I left this out because I didn't hae any)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 cup ditallini or other small pasta shape (small elbow macaroni for me)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil (also left out)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (I forgot this ingredient at the end and the soup still tasted great!)

  1. Puree half of beans and 2 cups of broth in food processor or blender until smooth; set aside. Cook sausage in large pot over medium-high heat, breaking up pices with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about five minutes (I simply diced all the sausage and left one link as slices).  Drain sausage on paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add oil and onions to fat in pot and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, remaining whole beans, remaining broth, pureed bean mixture, cooked sausage, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes and onions are very soft, about 15 minutes.
  3. About 10 minutes before soup is done, bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, then add to soup. Stir in basil and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Note: For making ahead, soup can be refrigerated for 3 days, but do not add pasta. Store pasta and soup in separate containers and combine just prior to serving.

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