Tuesday, March 9, 2010

40 Meatless Meals: Pasta e Fagioli

  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 5 3/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup elbow macaroni
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optiona
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and tomato paste and saute until caramelized. Add the broth, beans, and herbs. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Puree 1 cup of the bean mixture in a blender until smooth. Before putting the puree back into the soup, add the macaroni and boil with the lid on until it is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Return the puree to the remaining soup in the saucepan and stir well. Season the soup with ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil just before serving.

Notes: I used my immersion blender right in the pot, which was easy, but offers a bit less control in how much of the soup is pureed. If you use a regular blender, let the removed soup cool for several minutes before blending, and hold a towel over the lid to be on the safe side, as steam could potentially cause enough pressure to pop the lid off. You can easily make this soup thicker or thinner by pureeing more or less soup, respectively.

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