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CBirck--Soup with Lots of Basil

butterscotch's picture

Lynne Kasper's Soup of Broken Pasta, Beans, and Fresh Basil


1/2 lb. dried beans, such as cannellini (white kidney beans)


3 medium garlic cloves--1 crushed and 2 minced


1 large bay leaf


Generous pinch of ground cloves


6 cups chicken stock or canned low sodium chicken broth


3 slices lean pancetta, minced (about 3/4 cup)


2 Tbsp. EVOO


1 large onion, finely chopped


1/3 cup minced flat-leaf parsley


2 cups peeled and chopped ripe fresh tomatoes (about 4 medium) or whole canned tomatoes, crushed


salt and fresh ground pepper


1 cup finely chopped fresh basil


1/4 lb. dried pappardelle or wide egg noodles, broken into bite-sized pieces, or 1/3 lb. fresh egg pasta, cut into maltagliati


1 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter


1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1.  Place the beans in a large saucepan. Add cold water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let soak for 2 hours.  Drain beans and return to pan. Add crushed garlic, bay leaf, cloves, 2 cups of stock and enough water to cover by about 1 1/2 inches. Simmer, partially covered, until the beans are soft and beginning to fall apart, 1-1 1/2 hrs. Do not drain.


2. Bring medium saucepan of cold water to boil for cooking the pasta. Meanwhile, in a large nonreactive saucepan, cook the pancetta in the olive oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the fat has been rendered and the pancetta starts to brown. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until rich golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the parsley and minced garlic and cook for one minute. Add one cup of stock and boil until reduced to a thin film on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 8 minutes.


3.  Add the remaining 3 cps stock and the beans with their cooking liquid to the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside 1 cup of soup. Pass the rest through a food mill. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir the reserved 1 cup. The soup should be the consistency of heavy cream. Thin with water if necessary. Bring the soup to a simmer, add the basil and cook for 5 minutes.


4. Meanwhile salt the boiling pasta water, stir in the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the soup.


5. Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls. Shave small shards of the butter over each serving. Sprinkle generous spoonfuls of cheese around the melting butter and serve.


This is ambrosial. I would never make this without doubling or even tripling the recipe. If you do that, you'll be able to use up 2-3 cups of basil at a time.