October 01, 2005

ATK Pasta Fagioli

However you pronounce it, this stuff is yummy. As taken from America's Test Kitchen:


1 TBS. Olive Oil
3 oz. Pancetta, chopped into little bits (substitute other baconesque products if you like, but I wouldn't.)
1 Medium Onion, chopped fine
1 Rib Celery, chopped fine
4 Medium Garlic Cloves, pressed or minced
2 Anchovy Filets, minced to a paste
1 TSP. Dried Oregano
1 TSP. Hot Pepper Flakes
1 28oz. Can Diced Tomatoes w/ Liquid
2 Cans Canellini Beans (about 32 oz. total -- Progresso is the recommended brand.)
Low Sodium Chicken Broth
8 oz. Dried Pasta of a tiny size (tubetini, tiny elbows, mini shells, etc.)
2 Parmesan Cheese Rinds, if you can find them
Grated Parmesan for topping (optional)
Chopped Parsley for topping (optional)

Use a large stock pot that holds at least 4 quarts. Heat up the olive oil at a medium-high for a couple of minutes until it's shimmering, not smoking. Add the pancetta, and cook for three or four minutes until it's crisp, stirring occasionally to move the bits around. Add the veggies and cook until softened, about 5 mins.

Stir in the garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and anchovies and cook for about a minute. Add the tomatoes. Add the beans. If you've got the cheese rinds, drop those in now.

Bring the soup to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cook 8-10 minutes.

Add 2 1/2 cups water and 3 1/2 cups chicken broth. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.

[They recommend adding a teaspoon of salt here but we opted not to and didn't miss it.] Drop in the pasta and let it cook in the soup per package instructions, usually about 7-8 minutes. You'll want to leave it al dente as it will continue to cook while the soup cools.

Fish out the parmesan rinds. Ladel it into some serving bowls, and add parmesan cheese or parsley or both if desired. Try not to eat the whole pot in one sitting.