11 November 2008

Notes on Two Soups d'Italia

This week, after two huge soup successes, I decided that I'm not really a huge recipe guy. Sunday night was a Tuscan white-bean-inspired, and tonight a Pasta e fagioli kindof. But, you know - I'm pretty sure I've never had either of those soups. And didn't read a recipe. So here's more or less how I made the soups, both of which received good reviews:

Tuscan White Bean [inspired]

  • Center cut ham steak
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Chard (or another hearty green of your preference - kale would also work here)
  • White wine
  • White beans [fresh if possible, of course]
  • Whatever else is in the fridge that seems like a good idea


  • Cut ham into small cubes and set aside
  • Dice garlic and onions; tear chard from stems and cut stems into small sections; wash beans
  • Set large pot on medium-low heat and put in a generous amount of butter
  • Add garlic for a minute, and then onions, stirring until clear
  • Add chard stems and stir in; pour in a little wine
  • Add beans and a little more wine; let it cook down
  • Add ham and stir thoroughly; add a bunch of water now, raise heat to medium and cover
  • When boiling, add chard for a few minutes, and turn heat back to medium-low
  • If there's anything else you want to throw in, do it, and simmer until eating. Salt to taste.
  • Serve with a whole buncha bread
Pasta e Fagioli [kindof]


  • chicken bones
  • collard stems
  • aduki beans
  • beans of some other sort
  • onions
  • sweet potatoes
  • potato
  • salt
  • clove
  • ziti or similar pasta


  • It doesn't have to be chicken bones and collard stems but that's what was in the freezer. Basically, set a pot to boil and make stock for about an hour with what ya got.
  • Fish the bones and stems out; throw the bones, cut the stems into small pieces and set aside
  • Set pot to medium heat
  • Chop onions medium; dice potato and sweet taters small
  • Add all veggies, beans included, and stir
  • Add cloves and whatever other spices you want
  • Cover for 10-15 minutes or so
  • Uncover and raise to boil again, adding water if necessary
  • Add pasta and cook for a minute or two longer than dictated
  • Serve with parmesan grated on top, and with plenty of bread on the side
As an aside, I realized that the above soup is actually absurdly healthy - fiber, protein, carbs, veggies and very little fat. Definitely make sure you cook the beans enough to get them falling apart, makes it a really lovely hearty texture.

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