Pasta Fagioli Soup
By Michele Anna Jordan, Sonoma County cookbook author and chef
There are endless variations of this traditional Italian soup, and I've never had one I didn't enjoy. I particularly like this one in fall when the weather is turning cool. If you do not have duck stock, use rich homemade chicken, veal or beef stock. Commercial broth will not provide the richness of both taste and texture the soup requires.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- l yellow onion, diced
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- Generous pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 ½ cups tomato concassé or 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups concentrated duck stock (4 cups normal strength reduced to 2 cups)
- 2 cups cooked cannellini beans
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh Italian parsley
- 4 ounces (1 cup) small dry pasta, such as ditalini or tripolini
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Black pepper in a mill
- Fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar hard cheese, in one piece
Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot set over medium low heat, add the onion and sautée until transparent, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Season with salt and add the crushed red pepper.
Stir in the tomato concassé, stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, add the beans, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the pasta and cook until it is just tender. Remove from the heat, cover and let rest for about 10 minutes. Stir in the Italian parsley and several turns of black pepper; taste and correct for salt.
When pasta is tender, remove the soup from the heat. Ladle the soup into bowls or soup plates, grate cheese on top and enjoy right away.
Michele Anna Jordan, a second-generation California native, has lived, cooked, and written in Sonoma County for over twenty years. A chef as well as a writer, Jordan's culinary and literary works have received numerous awards and wide acclaim.