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Country-Style Pasta and Bean Soup

Serve with crusty artistan-style bread for a warming, simple meal. To make this soup vegetarian, use a meatless sausage and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Ingredients:

  • 5 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 lb. smoked sausage, such as luganega, linguiça or kielbasa, cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups (28 oz.) canned pink or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 9 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 lb. tubettini, macaroni or other small tubular pasta
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Make the soup
In a large pot over low heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté until fragrant but not colored, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and add the carrot, garlic, bay leaves and sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the sausage is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the beans and tomato paste. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors come together, about 15 minutes.

Cook the pasta
Add the pasta to the soup and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package instructions. The pasta will continue to cook in the heat of the soup.

Add the parsley to the soup. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).