Reader Linda wrote that her family loves the recipe for Italian Bean Soup with Pasta, but that the card was misplaced. This hearty soup is made in the style of the Italian pasta e fagioli – a lusty main dish with beans, ham, sausage, vegetables, and pasta.
For an Italian finish, grind white pepper to taste and stir a spoonful of olive oil into each bowl. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if you wish.
This recipe makes 6 servings.
Section 21 Foreign Favorites, Card 5
Italian Bean Soup with Pasta
- 1 cup Great Northern Beans rinsed and drained
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium carrot shredded
- 1 stalk celery thinly sliced
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced or pressed
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 1/2 cup pepperoni thinly sliced
- 1 1 pound smoked ham hock
- 1 1 pound can tomatoes coarsely chopped with liquid
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 bay leaf
Place beans in a bowl; add 2 cups of the water, let stand overnight (or bring to boiling in a medium saucepan, boil briskly 2 minutes, remove from heat, let stand, covered, 1 hour.)
In a 5-6 quart kettle, heat oil. Cook carrot, celery, and onion until onion is soft.
Mix in garlic, parsley, and pepperoni.
Add ham hock, tomatoes, basil, bay leaf, beans and liquid, and remaining water.
Bring to boiling. Cover, reduce heat. Simmer until beans are tender and ham separates from the bone, about 2 hours.
Remove ham hock. Discard bones, fat, skin, and bay leaf. Return ham in chunks. Skim, discard fat.
Remove 1 cup of the beans. Press through food mill (or puree in blender with a little soup liquid.)
To soup add pasta shells. Bring to boiling. Cook, uncovered, stirring until pasta is tender, 12-15 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and serve as desired.