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Italian pasta Soup



Italian Pasta Soup
(8 servings)
1/2 lb dried cannellini or navy beans
1/2 lb dried kidney beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 lb salt pork, diced fine
1 large onion, chopped fine
5 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
4 celery stalks, including leaves, sliced thin
3 tsp salt

2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 16 oz. can Italian tomatoes, drained, tomatoes chopped coarsely
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley, preferably Italian
1/2 cup julliened carrot
1/2 lb ground sirlioin
1 egg
4 tblsp seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 lb ditalini (tiny, tube shaped pasta)
Freshly grated Romano, Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Rinse and pick over the dried beans. Soak overnight in cold water.
Drain, then place in stockpot with 10 cups cold water. Bring to a boil,
then reduce heat to simmer while preparing vegetables. Heat the olive
oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salt pork and
cook, stirring frequently, until the fat melts and the meat begins to
brown, about 15 minutes. Do not allow to burn.
Add the onion and garlic and saute gently until the onion is golden.
Add this mixture to the beans, along with the celery, salt, red and
black pepper, oregano and basil. Cover and simmer until beans are
tender, about 2 1/2 hours, checking frequently to make sure the liquid
has no evaporated too much. There has to be enough liquid to cook the
meatballs and pasta in the final cooking stage. Add more water if
About 30 minutes before the soup is finished simmering, add the
tomatoes and their juices and the parsley. Combine the ground meat
with the egg and bread crumbs and roll into miniature balls. Add to
the simmering soup. Add the carrot.
About 20 minutes later, add the ditalini and cook until tender.
Serve with the grated cheese.

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