Saturday, January 9, 2010

Italian Bean and Pasta Soup

I took the night off from cooking last night because it was my birthday. So I will make up for it with 2 for tonight. I am watching playoff football and since my team isnt in it, I am only mildly interested. Perfect time to catch up on my blogging. This is what I made us for dinner tonight
Italian Bean and Pasta Soup

adapted from Williams Sonoma


  • 2 cups dried cranberry, cannellini or other small
    white beans ***I used 2 large cans of Cannelini Beans***
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pancetta
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups water or chicken stock, or as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups diced canned plum tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. small dried pasta, such as shells or
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for serving
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving


Pick over the beans and discard any misshapen beans and stones. Rinse the beans, drain and place in a saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain. ***I skipped and used canned Beans***

In a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the water, beans, tomatoes and 2 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour. ***My beans were very soft after simmering for 20 minutes***

To give the soup more body, remove 2 large spoonfuls of beans and vegetables and puree in a blender or food processor, then return the puree to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and reheat gently. *** I pulsed my hand blender a few times***

When the soup is almost ready, bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well and cook until barely al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 8 minutes or according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and add it to the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes more.

To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top each serving with a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil, some grated cheese and a generous grinding of pepper.
Serves 6.
LOVED this soup. I had never cooked with Pancetta before which I find really crazy. I always saw the big hunks of it and never knew what to do with that much. But I saw my deli sells it in slices so I could finally try it. It added a whole other layer of flavor and I really liked it. I have made this soup a few times with different recipes but this by far is my absolute new favorite. I wish we didnt eat it for dinner so there would have been more leftovers. I dont know if using canned beans as opposed to dry beans makes a difference but it cut the time down a lot so for me that's just the way it is. If anyone does it the WS way let me know how it goes.


  1. Did you use water or chicken stock in yours?

  2. I used box stock. Not broth, but stock. Rachel Ray and Emeril both make a nice one that I like and use in almost everything. I find the Kitchen Basic brand a little salty.