To call this "pasta and bean soup" doesn't even begin to describe it. You can substitute bacon for the pancetta, but that will change the flavor radically (because bacon is smoked). I got this from ATK.
|2 oz||pancetta, finely chopped (cured, unsmoked bacon)|
|2||onions, finely chopped|
|2||carrots, finely chopped|
|1 rib||celery, finely chopped|
|2 tbsp||tomato paste|
|4 cloves||garlic, minced|
|¼ tsp||pepper flakes|
|2 cans||(14 oz) caneloni beans|
|4 cups||chicken broth|
|1 cup||ditalini pasta (or any other small pasta like elbow macaroni)|
|½ cup||chopped basil (wait to chop it just before adding it to the soup)|
|1 cup||grated Parmigiano Reggianno|
1. In sauce pan, heat oil to medium, add pancetta and aromatics, salt and pepper. Stir several times for about 10 minutes, should not brown. The onion should largely clarify.
2. Purée one can of bean with one cup of water until smooth, about 30 seconds. This will be the thickener.
3. Once the aromatics have softened, add tomato paste plus the garlic and pepper flakes. Bloom for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
4. Add the broth, the puréed beans plus the other can of beans (unpuréed). Bring the pan to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low to simmer uncovered, about 10 minutes.
This is the point at which you can cool everything and refrigerate it for tomorrow.
5. Bring the soup to a boil again. Add the pasta and cook until al dente or about 12 minutes. Stir occasionally to break up the pasta.
6. Remove the soup from the heat. Add the basil and the cheese.
7. Serve with additional cheese and extra virgin olive oil.