Pasta Fagioli with Red beans

I’m a soup gal.  I love soups of all kinds, but this one is great because not only does it have a great flavor but it’s hearty enough that if you add a hunk of bread and a glass of wine you can call it Dinner.  I like that in a soup.

pasta-fagioli-with-red-beans

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 tbls butter

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 ounces pancetta, chopped

6 cups chicken broth

2 (14 oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup small macaroni, like elbow or orcchiette

salt and pepper to taste

parmesean cheese and olive oil to top dish

Cheesecloth or kitchen twine

Wrap the thyme and rosemary sprigs in a piece of cheesecloth and tie in a knot, or tie with kitchen twine.  Heat the butter in a large, heavy stockpot over a medium flame.  Add the onion, pancetta, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender (about 5 minutes).  Add the broth, beans and herbs.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease heat to medium and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.  At this point, remove the herb packet and discard it.  Measure out 1 cup of the mixture and either puree it in a blender or, if you have an immersion blender, put one cup in a larger (4 cup) glass measuring cup and puree it using the immersion blender.  Return the puree to the rest of the soup, cover and return to a boil over high heat.  Add the macaroni, cover again and boil approximately 8 minutes, so that the pasta is done “al dente.”  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve the soup sprinkled with parmesean cheese and drizzled with olive oil.

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