Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 9 hours
- 1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans, or about 2 1/2 cups fresh
- 1 clove of garlic, whole
- The leaves from an 8-inch sprig of rosemary, minced (1 tablespoon, or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1/4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ounces pancetta or prosciutto
- 1/4 pound good quality dried pasta (ditaloni, small elbows, or half-inch long, quarter-inch diameter rings)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup croutons (see below)
Cook the beans in 7 cups water, with the pancetta, garlic, and salt to taste until done -- they should be quite soft.
Remove the beans from the pot with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. Pass the beans through a foodmill and back into the pot. Simmer the mixture until it is a creamy velvety texture; while this is happening you can prepare your croutons by dicing a slice of bread and sautéing the pieces in the oil for 3-4 minutes. Remove the croutons to an absorbent sheet, and lightly sauté the rosemary in the oil, then stir the oil-and-rosemary mix into the pot.
Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper, and cook the pasta in it until it is al dente. Correct seasoning, let the soup rest covered for a few minutes, and in the meantime divvy up the croutons into the bowls. Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve, with a light, fairly zesty red wine along the lines of a Chianti Colli Senesi.
Want something different? Try Jota (pronounced yota), a variation from Friuli that also has sauerkraut.