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Florentine White Bean Soup With Pasta

"My husband and I just returned from a trip to Italy," writes Kim Riemann of North Brunswick, New Jersey. "Of all the great meals we had there, a few stand out in my memory. One was at Buca Mario in Florence. The rosemary-scented bean soup was unforgettable."

Courses: Soup
Serves: 12 people

Recipe Ingredients

1   Dried Great Northern beans - (16 oz)
16 cups 3792mlWater - or more if needed
5   Garlic cloves - unpeeled, plus
3   Garlic cloves - peeled, chopped
1   Celery stalk - cut in half
5 tablespoons 75mlOlive oil
2 tablespoons 30mlOnions - chopped (medium)
  = (abt 3 cups)
1   Diced tomatoes in juice - (14 1/2 oz)
1 tablespoon 15mlChopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon 15mlChopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon 2.5mlCelery salt
3/4 cup 177mlTubettini or elbow macaroni - (abt 6 oz)
  Salt - to taste
  Freshly-ground black pepper - to taste

Recipe Instructions

Place beans in large pot. Add enough cold water to cover beans by 3 inches. Let stand overnight.

Drain beans well. Return to pot. Add 16 cups water, 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, and celery stalk. Bring mixture to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and 3 chopped garlic cloves and saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices, rosemary, sage, and celery salt to mixture, stirring to combine.

Add vegetable mixture to bean mixture in pot. Simmer soup until beans are tender, about 45 minutes.

Cook pasta in another large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Add cooked pasta and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to soup, stirring to combine. Thin soup with more water, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

This recipe yields 12 first-course or 6 main-course servings.

Bon Appetit, November 2002


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