For this riff on pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans), I make this pasta fazool with canned tomatoes and dried oregano; that way, it can be prepared any time of year.
Technique tips: Cooking the pasta directly in the soup adds flavor to the noodle. The soup can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently and add water if the soup is too thick.
Swap option: If you can't find slab pancetta, you can use bacon.
- One 4-ounce slab pancetta or bacon, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- Two 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup ditalini pasta
- One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Fresh basil leaves, torn
- Crusty bread
1. In a large saucepan, cook the pancetta in the olive oil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the wine to the saucepan and cook over moderately high heat until nearly absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the pasta and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Stir in the beans and simmer for 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with shredded cheese, torn basil and crusty bread.