There are so many delicious pasta bean soups, and I am sure you have one that you make time and time again. I tend to add vegetable bouillon to most of my soups, but this is one that did not require it, as the flavours of the vegetables just come through.
I know it looks like bits of rice floating at the top, but it's actually orzo. Orzo is Italian and to my knowledge means "barley" from which it was once originally made. These days it is actually made from hard wheat semolina. However to people like myself, orzo often means rice-shaped pasta and is often used in dishes such as casseroles or substantial and comforting soups, such as this one.
Soups are not the easiest to photograph, so here is a 'close up'.
Pasta e fagioli: a hearty bean soup
Serves 6 -8
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 small carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup chopped, canned tomato
1 x 400g canned borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup orzo pasta or other small pasta
Warm the oil in a wide pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, potato and garlic and cook over medium heat., stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes, then add the beans and 8 cups of water. Simmer, covered over a low heat for about an hour. Remove 2 cups of the beans and vegetables, puree them and add them back to the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta separately until done, drain then add it to the soup. Serve with minced parsley and extra optional drizzle of olive oil. Adapted from Deborah Madisons Vegetable Soups.
If you leave this soup overnight with the pasta in it, the pasta will thicken up more.