- Crafty Farm Girl - https://craftyfarmgirl.net -

Rustic Pasta & Bean Soup

Evan wanted soup for dinner on Saturday night. My schedule wouldn’t allow me the time I needed then to make it for him, but on Sunday it did. I shopped for ingredients Saturday night and soaked the beans overnight so they were ready to use this morning.

I knew I wanted a rustic-style bean soup with pasta, but to make a meal out of it I wanted to add meat to it. I decided on a combination of meats, using Italian pancetta, smoked sausage and sweet Italian sausage. Because I used didn’t use huge quantities of any meat, none of them overwhelmed the soup.

For the beans I wanted a mixture, and decided on small white and pink beans combined. But to make it a little different I decided to also use Spanish pardina lentils. I’ve never used these before, but I believe they are like the small French green lentils that I love. They’re great because they keep their shape when cooked. What you have to remember about these lentils is that unlike a traditional lentil, a quick sauté helps to ‘seal’ them so they don’t explode when cooking. I’ve done that for this soup. You could also use some beluga lentils instead.

I used 1 teaspoon salt for the recipe, but did find it a little salty. I’ve eliminated the salt entirely, but adjust for taste and add it towards the end if you find it needs salt.

Rustic Pasta & Bean Soup

Ingredients:

¾ cup dried small white beans, picked over, soaked in water overnight, drained & rinsed
¾ cup dried pink beans, picked over, soaked in water overnight, drained & rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 oz. pancetta, sliced thick and diced
8 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
½ pound smoked sausage, such as smoked keilbasa or linguica, cut into small pieces.
1 medium-large Spanish onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2-1/2 oz. Spanish pardina lentils or French green lentils, rinsed
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 fresh bay leaves of 2 dry
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 canned whole plum tomatoes, roughly chopped (that’s 4 tomatoes, not 4 cans of tomatoes)
16 cups low-salt chicken stock
Rind from chunk of good-quality Parmesan cheese (optional)
7 oz. tubetti, macaroni or other small tubular pasta

Have all of your ingredients prepped and ready before you start to cook. This soup goes together quickly once you get it started.


In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to brown.


Add the sausage, breaking it up with your fingers as you add it to the pot. Stir frequently to cook evenly and break up pieces with your spoon.


When the sausage has lost it’s pink color, add the onion, stirring to combine. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to brown the onion.


Add the garlic, stir, and cook another minute.


Add the carrots and smoked sausage and cook for a minute or two more.


Add the lentils and herbs, stir to combine, and cook another minute to release flavors and seal the lentils.


Add the tomato paste and chopped plum tomatoes and stir to combine.


Add the soaked and rinsed beans and stir to combine.


Add the chicken stock to the pot.  


Add the Parmesan cheese rind (if using).



Note that we have not added the macaroni yet.

Reduce heat to the lowest setting. I like to put a ring of wadded tin foil under my pot to keep the simmer as low as possible. Cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours.


Remove parmesan rinds (if used) and bay leaves, rosemary and thyme stems. Adjust seasoning to taste and add salt if necessary and more pepper if desired.

The parmesan rinds look pretty nasty when you remove them, but they've imparted a wonderful flavor into the soup.

If you are not going to be eating this soup right away, this would be your stopping point until you are ready to serve it. Refrigerate until ready to finish.

If you cook the pasta into the soup and don’t eat it right away, the pasta will start to get mushy. If don’t plan on eating all of the soup at once, but perhaps have some to extra to freeze, then take what you won’t need and put it in containers before you cook the pasta. You can add the pasta later when you re-heat that soup. For the remaining soup, your measuring of pasta does not need to be precise in any way. Just throw in however much you want in the soup, stir, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.


If soup is too thick, add more stock and thin as desired. Serve immediately with a good crusty bread.


Here’s the recipe again if you’d like to print it without all the photos.


Rustic Pasta & Bean Soup

Ingredients:

¾ cup dried small white beans, picked over, soaked in water overnight, drained & rinsed
¾ cup dried pink beans, picked over, soaked in water overnight, drained & rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 oz. pancetta, sliced thick and diced
8 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
½ pound smoked sausage, such as smoked keilbasa or linguica, cut into small pieces.
1 medium-large Spanish onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2-1/2 oz. Spanish pardina lentils or French green lentils, rinsed
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 fresh bay leaves of 2 dry
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 canned whole plum tomatoes, roughly chopped (that’s 4 tomatoes, not 4 cans of tomatoes)
16 cups low-salt chicken stock
Rind from chunk of good-quality Parmesan cheese (optional)
7 oz. tubetti, macaroni or other small tubular pasta

Have all of your ingredients prepped and ready before you start to cook. This soup goes together quickly once you get it started.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to brown. Add the sausage, breaking it up with your fingers as you add it to the pot. Stir frequently to cook evenly and break up pieces with your spoon. When the sausage has lost it’s pink color, add the onion, stirring to combine. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to brown the onion. Add the garlic, stir, and cook another minute. Add the carrots and smoked sausage and cook for a minute or two more. Add the lentils and herbs, stir to combine, and cook another minute to release flavors and seal the lentils. Add the tomato paste and chopped plum tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the soaked and rinsed beans and stir to combine. Add the chicken stock, 4 cups at a time, stirring after each addition.  Add the Parmesan cheese rind (if using). Note that we have not added the macaroni yet.

Reduce heat to the lowest setting. I like to put a round of wadded tin foil under my pot to keep the simmer as low as possible. Cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours.

Remove parmesan rinds (if used) and bay leaves, rosemary and thyme stems. Adjust seasoning to taste and add salt if necessary and more pepper if desired.

If you are not going to be eating this soup right away, this would be your stopping point until you are ready to serve it. Refrigerate until ready to finish.

If you cook the pasta into the soup and don’t eat it right away, the pasta will start to get mushy. If don’t plan on eating all of the soup at once, but perhaps have some to extra to freeze, then take what you won’t need and put it in containers before you cook the pasta. You can add the pasta later when you re-heat that soup. For the remaining soup, your measuring of pasta does not need to be precise in any way. Just throw in however much you want in the soup, stir, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

If you have stopped the cooking to serve it later, return the soup to a simmer and continue as above by adding pasta, cooking, and thinning if needed.