Sunday, January 30, 2011

That's Amore

When the stars make you drool like a pasta fazool that's amore

Thank you Dean Martin for including food in your love song. This recipe is indeed loveable, wallet friendly and a quick fix. I think every chef on the Foodnetwork has a recipe for this soup so I thought I'd toss my version into the mix. I pantry shopped my recipe because I was not about to go the the market with a foot of snow on the ground and abominable road conditions to try and find pancetta and fresh herbs. I knew I could make it rock with what I had at home.

Pantry Pasta Fazool (Pasta e Fagioli)

1 T canola oil
2 bay leaves
1 cup chopped onion
1 rib celery chopped
1 large carrot chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce with Italian herbs
1-1/2 cups water
2 cans (14.5 oz each) fat free chicken broth
1 cup linguini broken into 1 inch pieces
5 oz baby spinach
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

In large pot add oil and saute on medium low onions, carrot and celery. After a minute or two add bay leaves, salt, pepper, Old Bay, crushed red pepper and garlic. When vegetables are soft, add beans, tomato sauce, chicken broth and water. Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta.

Most traditional recipes call for ditilini pasta, but I didn't have any so I broke up some linguini and used that. After adding the pasta, reduce heat to medium and cook soup stirring occasionally for 6 minutes. Add spinach and cook another 3 minutes. By the way- spinach is not traditionally an ingredient in this soup, but it works so well, you won't be disappointed. Fish out the bay leaves and serve with a dusting of cheese and a crusty loaf of bread.

This is one of those recipes that tastes as good, if not better on day two as it did right off the stove top. And there are so many ways to re-mix it, you'll never get bored. A few days after I made this I placed one giant, cooked meatball in the center of my bowl, ladled the soup over it and was most definately in amore. If you'd like to incorporate the traditional pancetta into the soup, use about 3 slices (1/8 lb) and saute before you add the onions, celery and carrots. If you're able to get fresh herbs, 1 sprig of thyme and 1 sprig of rosemary should do the trick. Add these when you begin cooking the veggies and use regular tomato sauce, not the Italian herb variety.

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