Sep 14, 2010

Pasta e Fagioli

This is my version of Pasta e Fagioli with a twist of 'Bean and Bacon' and 'Italian Wedding Soup' thrown in there. There's a chilly breeze in the air these days with a faint whiff of fall rolling in but I haven't been apple picking yet and I don't feel the urge to buy pumpkins. So I'll wait a little bit longer before really delving into my favorite seasonal cooking. I thought this recipe however was a good place to start. 

2 thick slices Italian bread, toasted or stale
1/4-C fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
1-C Parmesan cheese
1 extra large egg
1/2-C whole milk or sour cream
1 Tbs olive oil
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1-lb organic boneless skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper

In a food processor, pulse bread with parsley and oregano until crumbs forms. In large bowl, combine cheese, eggs, milk and seasoned bread crumbs. In small fry pan, sauté onion and garlic until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Mix in with bread crumb mixture. Add chicken to food processor and pulse until ground finely. Mix into onion-bread crumb mixture and combine well. Using small ice cream scoop form small balls and place on baking sheet. 

Soup Base
4 slices bacon (no nitrites or nitrates)
1 can tomato paste
1 can cannelini beans
3 carrots, finely diced
4 stalks celery, finely diced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely minced

48-oz canned chicken broth (low sodium, no msg)
2 cups water
1 box ditallini pasta, cooked as directed and drained
1 bag baby spinach (optional: remove stems)
salt and pepper

In large soup pot brown bacon starting on no heat then turning on to medium until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Chop coarsely and set aside. Remove all but 1 tsp. bacon fat from pan. Reheat on medium-high and add tomato paste, beans, carrots, celery and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until warmed through. Add broth and water and bring to boil. Add meatballs delicately making sure they submerge into liquid. Cover about 5 minutes or until meatballs float to surface. Turn to low and add cooked pasta, spinach, and chopped bacon. Stir until spinach is welted. Serve with fresh shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

No comments: