So the weather is changing. The trees are even mid color shift, and I had no idea until it was suddenly cold enough to crave soup for dinner.
Since the farmers’ markets are still open and there are plenty of amazing things available — like fresh cranberry beans and leeks and heirloom tomatoes — it stands to reason that if there is to be soup, it should be made with fresh goods.
This seasonal take on Pasta e Fagioli is hearty like a good pasta dish and light like healing consommés of yore. It is warming and satisfying and everything you need for those first few cool nights of fall.
8 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 large leeks, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cups fresh borlotti (cranberry) beans, shelled
3 garlic cloves, diced fine
2 cups small pasta such as ditalini
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ cups parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
- To peel the tomatoes, slice each in half crosswise and place flesh side down on a baking sheet. Set oven broiler on high, and let tomatoes roast for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool 2 minutes. Peel away skins, remove cores, and dice.
- In a large stockpot over medium heat olive oil. Add leeks, carrots, celery, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until soft; stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 2 additional minutes.
- Add chicken stock, water, bay leaf, and beans. Cook 25 minutes, covered.
- Turn heat down to low. Add pasta and tomatoes (and more salt if needed) and cook additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaf and add in spinach. Serve immediately topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese.
PS: don’t be afraid to throw some cooked bacon or pancetta into the mix here…it can add another layer of flavor (and let’s be serious, bacon always plays.)