January is National Soup Month and Pasta e Fagioli (pronounced pasta fa-zool) is the perfect comfort food soup to warm both your spirit and your body during one of the coldest months of the year. This soup freezes easily, too.
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups diced onion
6-8 slices bacon, diced
8 cups chicken broth
Parmesan cheese rind, optional
2 (14.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5-ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup elbow macaroni
12 ounces baby spinach
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Extra-virgin olive, for garnishing
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: You can substitute garbanzo or chick peas for the red kidney beans, ditalini, pennette, or conchigli for the elbow macaroni pasta and collard greens or kale for the spinach.
Note: It is very important when blending hot liquids to remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for at least 5 minutes before blending. Transfer the cooled liquid to the blender. If you don't want to wait 5 minutes when using your regular blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
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