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Monday, May 13, 2013

Pasta Fagioli in the middle of May? Yup!

It's hard to believe that I am even thinking about making soup in the middle of May, but here in Boston, we are having a cold snap that none of us like!  We're supposed to have frost in the morning.  So tonight, hot soup was definitely in order and for some reason, I really felt like a soup that makes you all warm and happy inside..... pasta fagioli.  I looked up a whole bunch of renditions and combined them into one that I thought would taste good.

There are not too many ingredients:

about 1/2 pound of bacon chopped up (the more bacon the better, so feel free to add the whole pound!)
1 onion, chopped
about 6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 large can of beans (either cannelloni or small red, whichever you prefer)
a box of chicken broth
fresh spinach
crushed red pepper
salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese
basil and parsley
your choice of pasta....something on the small side

I started by cooking the garlic and bacon with a little olive oil.  When the bacon is just starting to brown, I dump in the tomatoes and beans, along with about 1/2 of the chicken broth. 

 I also add the parsley, basil (probably a tbs of each), a sprinkle of crushed red pepper, and the salt and pepper.   I let this simmer a bit, while I start cooking the pasta.  I saute my chopped onion which also gets added in.

 The last steps are to add rest of the chicken broth and the fresh spinach.  I shut off the heat so that the spinach just begins to wilt. The last thing to go in is the cooked pasta.  You don't want it to stay too long in the soup.  Otherwise it will start to fall apart.

At this point, all the flavors are combining into one delicious soup!  Taste it and see if it needs any more salt, pepper, or crushed red pepper.  Be liberal adding the grated Parmesan's like the frosting on the cake!

You will find that the longer this soup sits in the pan, the more the liquid gets absorbed, so keep adding more of the chicken broth.  If need be, you can add another can of diced tomatoes as well.  A loaf of roasted garlic bread and...... thou baby!

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