Food Quotes

"No therapy or drug known to modern medical science can rebuild tissue that has been damaged by disease or trauma. Food alone can accomplish this feat. It is for this reason that nutrition is an indispensable weapon against disease".
Dr. Bernard Jensen (1908-2001)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

1 pound dried cannelini (white kidney beans)
filtered water
2 tablespoons whole plain yogurt

Or if preparing easy version, use 2 (15-ounce) cans of canneli beans instead of  (see note below for directions for easy version)

6 quarts chicken stock
3 large Idaho potatoes (about 1 3/4 lb.), peeled
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
12 slices bacon (from range-fed pig, with no nitrates or nitrites)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil, plus more for drizzling over soup
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 c.)
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded (about 1 c.)
2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes with their liquid, crushed
salt & pepper to taste
3 cups elbow pasta
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: The night before - In a large bowl, pour water over beans, covering by at least 3 inches. Stir in yogurt, cover bowl with cloth and let set in a warm place till you are ready to begin cooking the beans (can be soaked for up to 24 hours).

The day of: Drain beans and rinse. In a large pot (at least 10 quarts) place beans, 6 quarts water, potatoes, rosemary and bay leaves. Bring to a rolling boil, then adjust heat to a simmer. Let simmer while preparing the bacon and vegetables.

In a food processor, grind the bacon and garlic into a paste, scraping processor bowl as needed. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon mixture and cook, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in onion, cooking till translucent. Stir in carrots, and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Carefully add vegetables from skillet into bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook till beans are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove about a third of the beans along with enough liquid to cover them into a shallow dish and let set until cooled (skip this step if preparing the "easy version"). Process the cooled beans until creamy. Return to soup pot. Put on a large pot of salted water to cook pasta. To make soup even creamier, remove potatoes, mash them and return to pot. Bring back to a simmer then turn off heat. Add pasta to boiling water until very al dente. Drain pasta and add to soup. Serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Easy Version: Disregard "The night before" instructions regarding the beans. Eliminate the first three ingredients (dried canneli beans, water and yogurt). In a large pot (at least 10 quarts) place 4 quarts chicken stock, potatoes, rosemary and bay leaves. Bring to a rolling boil, then adjust heat to a simmer. Let simmer while preparing the bacon and vegetables.

Continue with directions but at the end, run the contents of one can (including liquid) through a food processor to puree. Drain and rinse the other can of beans. Add both the pureed beans and the whole beans at the end of cooking. Allow more cooking time to heat the beans.

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