Soup No. 1
Oct.16.09 § 5 Comments
I make this as my first post because soup number one should be my number one soup. Therefore, this is my most favorite and treasured recipe. It’s top secret. Passed down from my Uncle Bub. And now I’m sharing it with you, the WHOLE WORLD! So treat it well.
Pasta vazool (Pasta e fagiole)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful dried oregano, crushed in your palms before dumped into the pot
1 tbsp dried basil
a pinch hot red pepper flakes
a pinch dried, ground thyme
1/2 c red wine ( I used a Beringer Old Vine Zinfandel, use whatever you like. If you’d drink it, you’d eat it.)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz can small white beans
1 14 oz can small red kidney beans
1 14 oz can cannelini
1 box ditalini
parmesan cheese for serving
I have never written this down before. Getting the measurements laid out was even hard. It’s just something you do by feeling. So, if you feel any necessary changes to this recipe, do it. Whatever tastes good to you. This is the way I like it. My uncle makes it a little differently. His comes out more brothy, mine comes out more stewpy (excuse my Rachel Ray-ism.) Anywho, here’s what you do.
Fill a large sauce pan with water. Add salt and set to high heat. This is where you’ll cook your ditalini. In a large soup pot, turn the heat to medium high while you dice your onion. Add the oil once the pot is heated and toss in the diced onion. Cook until translucent. While your onion is cooking, mince your garlic. Add the garlic once the onion is cooked. Heat only about a minute more, maybe 30 seconds. Garlic should never be overcooked. Add the oregano, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes. Stir. Sautee for about 30 seconds to a minute more. Deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup of red wine. I chose a bold wine because that is the kind I like to drink. It gives the soup a little depth. You can omit this or you can use cooking wine. Then add the can of diced tomatoes. Turn the heat down to medium low, tomatoes like to bubble and spit all over your kitchen. Stir. Once the pot is bubbling a little, add the can of crushed tomatoes. Stir. Turn down the heat to low and cover. Drink some wine until your pasta water is boiling, then add the ditalini and maybe drink some more wine until 8-10 minutes later when it’s cooked. Make the pasta perfectly al dente. You’re going to put it in a pot of soup and let it heat up again, so you don’t want it to get soggy.
When the pasta is ready, turn off the heat and spoon the ditalini into the pot of your soup base with a small mesh strainer or slotted spoon. Then, once all the ditalini is in the big pot, ladle in some of the pasta water. You’ll need about three cups. If you want a watery soup, add more. If you like yours stewpy (like me) stick with about three cups. Stir the mixture and turn the heat up to medium high while you crack open your cans of beans.
My uncle likes to add only one can of beans and he doesn’t drain them. It thickens an otherwise watery soup and salts it, however, the liquid in a bean can is too salty for me. And I like to add three kinds of beans for variety and fiber! I try to make every dish as healthy as I can. So, I strain my beans and rinse them in a colander. Then, add them to the pot. Stir it all together, taste for seasoning and turn down the heat. Cover and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes while you set the table.
Ladle generously into bowls and make it rain (snow, actually) with the parmesan cheese. Garnish with parsley if you want to be fancy, like me. Or just get it to the table and into your mouth as fast as you can, because it is the best thing in the whole entire world. Mangi!