You pretty much can’t get away from bacon or whiskey in the South.
Put a doughnut in it and you’d be good to go.
I had a short day for cooking yesterday, preparation was key the previous day and thank goodness since there was a two-hour backup at the doctor’s eye surgery clinic and I got a late start on the soup for dinner. Cozy warming dinner for a cold night except it was 72° outside…Oh well.
Michael had cataract surgery and I had the great idea to make one of his favorite soups, he had two choices, homemade pea soup or a hearty pasta fagioli, pasta fagioli won out and so I prepped everything the day before.
From a previous night’s dinner, bucatini carbonara with braised bacon, I had saved the wonderful braising liquid for a use in a pot of soup, actually had enough for two pots of soup. A Deeply flavored broth with white wine, chicken stock, garlic cloves, chunks of onions and carrots, herb-a-liciously adorned with sprigs of parsley, thyme, rosemary, and whole peppercorns. The end result after 3 hours of braising hunks of homemade cured bacon, strained and defatted, a delicious hearty broth for use in all kinds of dishes, but especially the perfect base for any soup calling for ham, bacon or ham hocks.
I had saved some of the strained bacon fat from the braise bacon and added it along with pieces of the braised bacon to the bit of olive oil in the soup pot to sauté the soup vegetables. My personal recipe for pasta fagioli is not so different from many others, but with the addition of the braising liquid a now perfect recipe to suit my personal taste and no complaints from Michael.
If you have a favorite bean soup recipe try substituting the braising liquid from braised bacon.
* Exported from MasterCook *
Pasta Fagioli – Rosemary’s
3 whole carrots, small diced
1/2 medium onion, small diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery — peeled and small diced
4 inch piece braised bacon — rough chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons bacon drippings from defatted braising liquid from braised bacon
2 small bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 sprig fresh oregano
1 piece of Romano or Parmigiano cheese rind
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1/2 a 29 ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes, hand squished into soup, about 1/2 of the cans liquid as well.
4 cups braised bacon broth
4 cups or so of water to cover beans by 2-3 inches, plus more if soup needs it while simmering for the three-hour period of time
1 pound dried Navy beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
A Splash of White Wine to deglaze sautéed bacon and vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste although I found that I needed no additional salt.
Cooked ditilini, just enough for each serving. I also added a ladle of the broth to the pasta cooking water.
Saute the chopped bacon and vegetables(except minced garlic) for 3-5 minutes until soft and then add the garlic for an additional minute, deglazed with white wine, add beans, squished tomatoes broth and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover and simmer for about 2-2 1/2 hours stirring often and testing the beans for doneness.. Remove herb sprigs and cheese rind before serving.
If soup is getting too thick add more water to cover beans and finish cooking. Add some ditilini pasta to each bowl and ladle the bean soup over.
Serve with grated parm and Romano a little crushed red pepper and minced parsley.