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Author Notes: This is my go to recipe to bring to friends when they've recently had a baby or are going through the kind of thing where you bring food. It's hearty, freezes beautifully, can be made with pantry ingriedents I always have on hand and one pot can feed 8 or more people on less than $20. I even stocked our freezer with it in anticipation of our little one's arrival and am so glad I did. This dish easily adapts for vegetarians and vegans by omitting the bacon and parmigiano rind. I've made the vegan version and it was so good that I'll happily make it that way whenever I don't have the bacon and parmigiano rind in hand.
This dish is my own take on the humble Italian dish I lived off of when I studied in Florence in college. I prefer a thicker version ove the more soupy varieties, but it can easily work either way, buy either not pureeing any of the beans or adding more stock. —piccantedolce
- 3 cups dried white beans (canellini or great northern)
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 strips of bacon, diced (can omit and use 2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil)
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 3 small onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon corse salt
- 1 pinch chili flake
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 28 ounces whole canned San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 parmigiano rind (optional)
- chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
- 2-3 cups dried macaroni, like tubetti or ditalini
- fresh basil for garnish
- Place bean ingredients in a pot and cover by 2 inches with water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiled remove from heat and let sit for an hour. Remove sage and garlic, and reserve beans in their cooking liquid.
- Heat a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium low heat. Add in diced bacon and cook slowly to render out the fat until the bacon gets crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel line plate and reserve. Drain off all but 2 Tbsps of bacon fat. If using just olive oil, omit this step.
- Raise the heat to medium and add in the diced celery, carrots and and onions. Saute until the vegetables soften and begin to caramelize, about 7-10 minutes. Add in the garlic, salt, pepper and chili flake, stir to combine and saute for another minute. Add in the tomato paste and saute until fragrant.
- Deglaze with the white wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Add in the herbs, beans, parmigiano rind (if using) and tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you add them. Add in stock or water until everything is covered.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stirring occasionally. Cover pot and let cook for 30-45 minutes, giving it a stir and checking the beans for tenderness every 15 minutes or so.
- Once the beans are cooked, ladle about half of the soup into your blender or food processor and pulse it until all of the beans and veggies are broken down. Add back to the soup along with the bacon and stir to combine.
- Cook 1/3 cup of pasta for each serving. Stir the cooked pasta into each bowl as you serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cheap Feast
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