My offering for Soup Week is:
Italian Bean Soup with Pasta
“This hearty soup is made in the style of Italian “pasta e fagioli” – a lusty main dish with beans, ham, sausage, vegetables, and pasta.”
1 cup Great Northern (or small white) beans
6 cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 stalk celery, thinkly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup thinly sliced pepperoni
1 smoked ham hock (approx 1 lb)
1 pound can of tomato (I use diced)
1 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup small shell pasta
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Prepare beans either by soaking in 2 cups of water overnight or use the “quick” method. (bring water to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, turn off heat, cover, let stand for 1 hour)
2. In a 5-6 quart kettle, heat oil. Cook carrot, celery, and onion until onion is soft. Mix in garlic, parsley, and pepperoni. Add ham hock, tomatoes with liquid, basil, bay leaf, beans and liquid, and remaining cups of water.
3. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat. Simmer until beans are tender and ham seperates from bone. (2 hours)
Remove ham hoc; discard bones, fat, skin, and bay leaf. return ham in chunks.
4. Remove 1 cup of bean and puree with a little soup liquid. (I usually skip this part) Return to pot.
Add pasta shells and return to boil. Cook uncovered, stirring, until pasta is tender, 12-15 minutes.
5. Season to taste with salt. Serve with cheese if you like.
Sometimes I just use some ham instead of ham hocs, and sometimes I use only ham and no pepperoni. I never make only six cups of soup!!