It’s soup night – NO it’s pasta night! November 16, 2011Posted by Toy Lady in Business, Cooking, Food, random stuff, soupe du semaine.
Regular readers of this blog will recall that, once upon a time, Peeps and I owned a meal-prep business. In short, the idea was to “prep” a series of meals in advance, to be frozen, then defrosted and finished later.
Spending an hour or two in the kitchen pre-preparing our week’s meals is still a great time-saver, and we still dust off some of the recipes that we used back then, although we don’t necessarily follow them quite to the letter these days.
After all, we’re not trying to make a profit anymore (not that we did then either).
So with the beginning of soup season, we thought it would be nice to revisit one of our then-favorites – a simple pasta and bean soup.
I believe our Italian friends would call it pasta e fagioli but we’re Swedish, so we just call it pasta and bean soup.
As so many things do, we start with bacon – just a couple of slices, diced.
Start cooking that in a small Dutch oven, and once some of the fat starts to render, add a diced up onion, and cook over medium-ish heat until the onion starts to soften.
Stir in a tablespoon or so of tomato paste. Then toss in two or three diced carrots, a clove or two of garlic, minced, some chopped rosemary and parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper – maybe a bit more pepper if that’s how you like to roll.
Add a quart of chicken broth (that’s 4 cups if your broth doesn’t come in Mason jars) and let it simmer 20 minutes or so. You want your carrots just softened – like they should be for soup – so I guess how long it needs to cook is going to depend on how big or small you dice your carrots.
At this point, you can just add your beans (I used half a pound of dried cannellini beans, cooked. Or you could use a couple of cans of canned beans.), let everything cool, and stick it in the fridge for later.
That’s what we did.
So when it’s later, you’ll want to dump it back in the pot and add another 4 cups of liquid – water is fine. If you happen to have, say, a partial jar of chicken stock in the fridge that needs to get used up, by all means, use that.
Get the soup re-heated – it’ll actually get thicker, what with the beans and all in there – and bring it up to a boil.
Once the soup is slowly boiling, add 2 cups of small pasta. We’re partial to ditalini, but that’s mostly because we have a bunch of it. Barilla makes a line of piccolini pasta – itty bitty miniature pasta shapes – that would certainly make a fun choice.
At any point until you add the pasta, you can also easily divide the soup in half and freeze half of it for later. Just make a note of what still needs to be done – we divided it right before adding the ditalini, so all we’ll need to do is reheat and add a cup of pasta.
This is such a wonderfully easy, flavorful soup, made with a few basic staples. Do give it a try and let me know what you think.