The oldest isn't quite ready to give up his naps, and the youngest two are nowhere close to that age. There's no figuring out why they didn't sleep. But they didn't.
These are long days.
And today was one of them.
We still have to eat. It's tempting to order sushi (expensive) or slap together a painfully bland pasta and call it a night. Whenever we do that, it feels like we're surviving, and we'll try harder tomorrow.
But then there is soup. This soup. Chop an onion. Crush some garlic. Open a couple of cans of beans and one of tomatoes. Heat. Stir. Wait a bit. Stir. Ready.
This soup is healing and forgiving and reminds you that you did more than just survive today.
Pasta and beans and some pancetta. Throw in a few herbs to stew. So much flavor for such little effort. Salty, savory. Creamy without a drop of cream (pureed beans make it feel richer than it should). This is a soup when you deserve something better than you have time to make.
Bookmark this recipe, and when you get to the end of a day when you don't have energy to think or be creative or try hard...make soup.
Note -If you have some truffle oil, use a drizzle here to make the soup even better (tip via Kristen Swenson at Serious Eats). If you don't have truffle oil, you might want to grab a tiny bottle the next time you see it. It's not cheap, but it's an earthy luxury that is worth the spend.
pasta e ceci soup - adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 large fresh rosemary spring
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans garbanzo beans (we use cannellini this time), drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 3/4 cup ditalini or other small, tubular pasta
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, pancetta and garlic and sauté until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes and herbs. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
Transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture to a blender and reserve (make sure you get plenty of beans). Add the ditalini to the soup pot, cover, and bring the liquid back to a boil. Boil gently until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes (depends on the brand, so check the recommended cooking time).
Puree the reserved bean mixture until smooth, then stir the puree into the boiling soup. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Take out the herb stems.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with some Parmesan and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil or the truffle oil.