Pasta Fagioli-Hearty Bean Soup
“Which hand should you use to stir the soup?” “Neither, you should use a spoon.”
- 2 bags of dried navy beans, picked over and rinsed
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, half of it diced and the other half to float in simmering soup
- 2 ribs celery, one diced one broken into large chunks and an *optional fennel bulb diced
- 2 carrots one broken into large chunks, the other halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 leftover ham bone or 2 ham hocks
- 12 cups water 2 cups less if using broth
- dried or fresh herbs, rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley
- 1 cheese rind
- 1 can whole tomatoes and juice, rough chopped
- 2 cups beef broth*optional
- *1 cups chicken broth, optional
- * 2 or more cups Greens of your choice, Swiss chard, kale, or spinach, sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Add to just about finished soup
- 1/2 pound or more of tubetti pasta
- Rinse beans soak, overnight and drain. To a large pot add about 3 tablespoons olive oil and briefly sauté the celery, garlic, whole carrot, large piece of onion and ham bone or ham hock. Break up the canned tomatoes and add to pot with all of the juices from the can. Let it all heat up while you add beans, water (optional broths if using), and herbs. Season with a little red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer until beans are tender about 2-3 hours on a medium low to low simmer. Remove large chunks of onion, celery, carrots and bay leaves. Remove bones and pick meat off to add back into the soup. Season to your taste.
- Cook and drain tubetti, return to cooking pot, add some of the soup broth to the pasta. At this point you can take half of the beans and puree, but I like the thinner broth and whole beans. First night soup is my favorite; everyone else likes the soup thicker or the next day.
- Notes for basic pasta fagioli: Once you have your basic soup ready you can get pretty creative adding in sautéed favorite greens to the simmering soup for several minutes before serving. Tiny meat balls, crispy pancetta, or prosciutto, and sausage are favorite additions for a second soup meal. Keep in mind all additions = more expense. I love freshly grated cheese in my bowl of pasta fagioli. Freeze leftover soup without pasta.
- Since it was sausage making day, I left some meat on the pork butt bones and added them to the soup as well, nice bits of tender pork in the soup along with the ham bits.