Saturday, August 30, 2008
Clean Out the Fridge Bean Soup
Friday night is usually pizza night at our house. I picked that up from my Mom who cooked 6 nights out of the week when we were kids. No matter how much we like to cook, we still need a break every once and a while. However, this week I thought it would be nice to use up all the random items I had left in my fridge, which is how "Clean out the Fridge Bean Soup" got it's name. This is not a rigid recipe. You can add practically anything into this soup. I will let you know where things can be switched out or changed up in the directions.
Ingredients I used (this time!)
1 package of diced pancetta
2 links of Italian sausage
4 slices bacon
2 fresh tomatoes
cooked broccoli (from dinner a few nights ago)
2 stalks celery plus leaves
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 bag Roman beans, soaked for a few hours or overnight (you can use canned to speed this up)
extra virgin olive oil
small shaped pasta such as elbows or ditilini
Saute pancetta, and bacon in oil in a large pot, when it starts to crips up add sausage. While pork browns chop carrots, celery, onion, garlic, potatoes and tomatoes. Remove pork, and set aside. Add chopped veggies to the pot and finely mince garlic. Add garlic to the top of veggies so they don't burn. Add beans and water. I filled up my big pot because I wanted it to make a lot of soup so I would have leftover. You can add less if you want less juice. Also, you can add more potatoes if you want it to be thicker. Add the bay leaves and let water come to a boil. Once soup reaches a rolling boil, add bouillon and turn the flame down low and simmer and add cooked broccoli if you are using it (If you ware using frozen or fresh put it in with the other veggies). This will take about an hour to cook or more depending on how long you soaked your beans. I only soaked mine for an hour or two so it took about 2 hours from when it came to a boil. Of course, if you used canned beans (and they don't have to be roman you can use cannelini or whatever you prefer) this will only need to cook until the beans warm through and all flavors combine.
I made my pasta in a separate pot because I wanted to freeze the soup (but don't want to freeze the pasta). If I was going to finish this up in the first day or two I would have cooked the pasta right in the pot. The starch in the pasta would thicken the soup which I tend to like better. This way is also perfectly fine and deliciousm, it's a matter of preferance. Hey, you don't even need the pasta if you don't want it but I'm Italian, I'm not turning down pasta!
Serve into deep bowls and top with grated cheese.
Other possible add ins to this soup:
the rind of a chunk of a hard Italian cheese
peas instead of broccoli
pieces of stale bread
couple of tablespoons of leftover tomato sauce or paste
swap out the roman beans for lentils
swap out the pork and add some mini meatballs
The list goes on and on. This dish can be made anyway and anytime. It's simple, easy and delicious.