Pasta and Bean Soup
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup finely chopped carrot
¼ cup finely chopped celery
4 pork ribs
1 cup canned whole tomatoes, with juice, chopped
4 cups beef stock
3 cups canned kidney beans, rinsed
½ pound tubetti
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the garlic is golden. Add the celery and carrot and cook briefly. Add the pork ribs and cook, stirring, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until reduced, about 20 minutes.
Add the stock and beans, cover the pot, and cook until heated through. Remove about ⅓ of the beans with a slotted spoon and mash with a spoon or purée in a food processor. Return the mashed beans to the pot.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring at least 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Add the tubetti, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain before serving, stir into the soup, and add salt and fresh pepper to taste. Heat the soup through. Stir in the freshly grated Parmesan before serving.
Color By Lentil
The stick-to-your-ribs texture and earthy flavor of lentils makes them perfect for soups. The lentils that stand up best to the simmering are green, but these are more expensive and not as common as the brown variety. Although brown lentils may lose their shape, they are certainly acceptable and, indeed, seep heft into the body of a soup. Red lentils, which are available in gourmet shops, are rather shockingly orange, and lack the taste that adds sturdiness to a soup. They are better suited to soaking up the vinaigrette flavors in salads.