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Author Notes: This is one of my grandmother's signature recipes, and a staple of our holiday meals growing up. I can picture her standing at the stove, with a stained apron tied over her lavender sweat suit, wearing a pair of bedroom slippers at least as old as I am, stirring an enormous pot of beans and tomatoes. What really makes this special are the finishing touches: each bowl gets topped with a spoonful of cooked orzo pasta and a drizzle of good olive oil. It's healthy comfort food at its finest. —ieatthepeach
- 1 pound dried white beans (navy, cannellini, or Great Northern beans)
- 2 quarts water, plus more for soaking the beans
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- Salt to taste
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) orzo pasta
- Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water, or do a quick soak: put them in a pot with lots of water, bring to boil, turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for an hour. Once the beans are soaked, drain and rinse them well.
- In a large pot, combine beans, 2 quarts water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and let bubble vigorously for a few minutes, then skim off any foam that comes to the top. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans are just barely tender.
- While the beans simmer, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt, and sweat for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes, just until the onions start to turn golden. Add tomatoes and bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture coalesces and looks saucy.
- Add the tomato mixture to the bean pot. Cover and simmer for another 1 hour, or until the beans are completely tender (start checking them after about 20 minutes).
- While the soup simmers, cook the orzo in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- When the beans are tender, stir in parsley, and season the soup with salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls, and top each bowl with a spoonful of orzo and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm. Leftover soup (minus the orzo and oil) will keep, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Show-Stopping Holiday Main
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Beans
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Family Recipe, Part 2
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Family Recipe