This is another version of Pasta e Fagioli . It contains pancetta. Hurricane Sandy is about to touch down in NY and I figured this was as good a time as any to make this. I’ve always made my Pasta Fagioli the traditional way with carrots , onions and celery, a basic mirepoix. This recipe gives it a different base flavor, and you can also use canned cannellini beans for those of you who don’t want to fuss with the beans. This soup is hearty and delicious, and is worth a try for sure. I use canned beans when I am in a rush and don’t have time to soak the beans. You’ll need an immersion blender or regular blender to blend. This soup was amazingly delicious. I didn’t blend it completely just for a few minutes so there were still a few beans and pieces of pancetta. This was amazingly delicious, and I ended up having to throw away the 2 containers in my fridge because we lost power and I was worried about the pancetta in it going bad. In retrospect I think it would have been fine. Oh well, it was delicious and I will definitely will be making it again soon.
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 ounces pancetta
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans if canned rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. tomato paste
8 cups chicken broth (2 quarts)
1 cup of mini pasta ( you can add up to 1 1/2 cups of mini pasta, like ditalini or mini farfalla would be nice) the more pasta you add the more like pasta and less like soup it becomes. I did add an extra 1/4 cup because there was just a small amount left in the box.
*1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (Use at your own discretion. This is a very little bit. I like the heat so I go a bit heavier, but how much you use depends on your crowd. People can always add a bit more at the table, too.) Totally optional
*Grated Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
*fresh basil for garnish (optional)
2 – 3 leaves fresh basil, cut up
Heat a heavy stock pot on medium high heat until hot. Add olive oil and pancetta, saute for a minute or so. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so. Lower heat to a simmer and add tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and beans, then bring to a gentle boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes, I simmered for an hour. House smelled amazing. I had my doubts about this soup while I was cooking it but couldn’t have been more wrong, it’s awesome. Now I have 2 quarts of it left over !
Cool it down, and get out your immersion blender stick or blender, and start to puree until it is slightly chunky, not completely pureed. Bring soup mixture to a boil. Taste for salt and pepper, and if you’re adding it add red pepper flakes now. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
Serve in bowls with grated cheese and a sprinkling of fresh basil if you like.