Traditional Pasta e Fagioli
Any bean will work in this pasta and bean soup, but tubed pasta or shells make for the best mouthfuls.
- Servings: 8
Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2005
- 3 cups dried small white beans, such as risina or navy
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves (2 minced, 2 crushed)
- 1 small dried red chile, crumbled
- 1 small sprig fresh rosemary, plus more, finely chopped, for garnish
- 1 bay leaf (preferably fresh)
- 8 to 9 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
- 1/4 cup shredded peeled carrot
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise (3 cups)
- 2 cups small pasta shells
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Cover beans with cold water in a large bowl. Transfer to the refrigerator, and let beans soak 8 hours (or overnight). Drain.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil and the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add onion, celery, and crushed garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans, chile, rosemary sprig, and bay leaf.
Gradually stir in 8 cups stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Simmer soup until beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours (time varies depending on bean).
Process carrot, minced garlic, parsley, and remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil in a food processor until vegetables and herbs are finely chopped.
Stir the Swiss chard and pasta into soup. Cook until pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. If soup seems too thick, thin with remaining cup stock to desired consistency. Discard bay leaf. Season soup with salt and pepper. Stir in carrot mixture, and garnish with chopped rosemary.