I finally dug my camera out of our catch-all closet (hadn’t used it since last year) and took some photos of what’s been my go-to soup the past few weeks. We’ve been sick with a mean winter cold for over three weeks now and dealing with some sad family news, and this soup has soothed our sickness, warmed our bodies, and made us feel cozy & safe (as safe as soup can make one feel). We’re still battling this sickness, but thankfully, I think we’re coming out of it!
This soup is simple to make (it takes less than 30 minutes, which is my favorite sort of meal). It’s best the next day; the flavors are more enhanced. I’ve made this soup about 10 times this winter, and changed it a bit each time. When I finally added broccoli and pasta, I knew I had found a winner! I think these two ingredients are essential to this soup…the added texture and taste are unbeatable! Best when served with warm-from-the-oven bread. You don’t have to serve it with a loaf of bread, especially if you’re adding the pasta. But who doesn’t love warm bread, slathered in butter and dipped in chicken broth?
Rustic White Bean Soup with Broccoli and Pasta
serves 4 (or so)
1 medium-large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cans cannellini beans (14.5 oz each), rinsed thoroughly
3 quarts (12 cups) chicken broth
2 tsp dried sage leaves
2 small heads broccoli, steamed & cut into small pieces
1 lb. whole wheat pasta, cooked separately
salt & pepper, to taste
parmesan cheese, grated & to taste
Heat oil, then sauté the onion in a pot on medium heat for a few minutes. Add garlic. When onions are transparent, add beans, broth, and sage. Bring to a low boil and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
In a separate pan, steam the broccoli. I steam it separately because I don’t like the way the broccoli turns the soup “greenish.” Cook pasta separately in water with plenty of salt (we like to salt our pasta water…I know some people frown on that). After pasta is cooked, I chop it into bite-sized pieces, then put it aside for later. I don’t add the pasta to the entire put because it will get super soggy and soft if you have any leftovers. I just add it to each individual bowl every time I heat & serve the soup.
While the broccoli finishes steaming, puree about half the soup. I like the way this thickens up the broth, and it also makes it easier for Naomi – my 1 year old – to eat. I use an emersion blender because I hate washing my regular blender.
After the broccoli is finished cooking, scoop out of pan with a slotted spoon and place it in the soup pot. Taste soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. The amount of salt needed will vary greatly with the type of broth you use.
Ladle into bowls and add a spoon of pasta to each bowl. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with optional warm bread & butter and enjoy!
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