Somewhere between a soup and a pasta dish - this wonderful hearty dish from Italy’s Puglia region is a nice change from mac & cheese!
- 1½ cups (approximately ¾ lb.) dried Cannellini or Great Northern beans, soaked overnight
- 2 cups (approximately ½ lb.) Annie’s Pasta – shells, elbows, or rotini – without sauce mix
- ¼ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 large celery rib, coarsely chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 cup chopped ripe plum tomatoes or 1 14-oz. can organic diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped *
- 6 cups or more water (room temperature)
- ¼ - ½ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
*Sage or thyme may be substituted for rosemary if you prefer
1. Drain the beans and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large (6-8 qt.) heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté gently, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not brown.
3. Add the drained beans to vegetables in pot, along with the tomatoes, rosemary, and enough water to cover.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until beans are tender – about 1 ½ hours, depending on age and size of beans.
5. Check during cooking and add more water as needed to make sure beans are always covered with simmering liquid, and not boiling.
6. When the beans are very tender, to the point of mashing easily, add a cup or so of boiling water to the pot and increase heat to medium. Add pasta and cook, stirring constantly, until pasta is cooked al dente.
7. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper, and a bit more chopped rosemary or thyme if desired.
8. Serve in warm individual soup bowls or warm tureen; garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of chopped parsley, and Parmesan to pass around the table. Bon Appetit!