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Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Bean Soup)

Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Bean Soup)

Conchiglie

Conchiglie is simply another word for shell and you'll find these shell shaped pasta in a variety of sizes from mini to small to medium to jumbo. Their open centres are great for trapping any type of cream sauce or think meat sauce and they are therefore popular in hearty soups and stews.

Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Bean Soup)

serves 6

INGREDIENTS

4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium-to-large white onion, finely chopped

2 carrot, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

¾ tsp fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 400 g can crushed tomatoes

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

1 cup Leopard’s Leap Classic Unwooded Chardonnay

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ tsp dried chilli

2 cans  cannellini beans, red kidney beans, Borlotti beans, or chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 cup dried Conchiglie small shell pasta

2 cups chopped spinach

¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Optional garnishes: Additional chopped parsley, black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese or light drizzle of olive oil

Method

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, and the onions are turning translucent, about 6 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, stir, and cook until the tomatoes are bubbling all over. Add the stack, water, wine, bay leaves, oregano, and dried chilli flakes.

Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

Use a heat-safe measuring cup to transfer about 1 ½ cups of the soup (avoiding the bay leaves) to a blender. Add about ¾ cup of the drained beans. Securely fasten the lid and blend until completely smooth, being careful to avoid hot steam escaping from the lid. Pour the blended mixture back into the soup.

Add the remaining beans, pasta, spinach and parsley to the simmering soup. Continue cooking, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, for about 20 minutes, or until the pasta and greens are pleasantly tender.

Remove the pot from the heat, then remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the lemon juice, the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish bowls of soup as desired and serve with hot crusty bread

Leftovers taste even better the next day. Allow leftover soup to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Or, freeze leftover soup in individual portions and defrost as necessary.

Enjoy this moreish soup with a glass of Leopard's Leap Unwooded Chardonnay.

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