9.17.09: pasta e fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

I have to admit that I get underwhelmed by many of my attempts at making soup.  Occasionally I strike food-gold, but I think I still have a lot to learn.  Unfortunately, my lackluster output often results in diminished fervor for whippin’ up a steaming bowl o’ soup.

However- I had just come off a really nasty bout of the flu and I wanted to make a meal that both easy and comforting for someone still not-all-there after being sick.  Simple soup certainly felt the best option.

All that’s there is a chopped onion, chicken stock, two cans of beans, a cup of small pasta, grated Parmesan and one last ingredient, optional but perhaps the most important.  We had recently stumbled upon a really fantastic pancetta from the guys at Milano Market.  It’s nice to see that a place who owes most of its sales traffic to lunch sandwiches and made-to-order salads still has a great eye for classic Italian staples.

The Italian credo of ‘great, simple ingredients’ is so well-known it’s almost a cliche.  It has permeated the entire food culture in general and while obvious it’s definitely a good thing.  Sometimes I feel cheap using a fat/salt/pork addition to elevate a meal, but on a night like this one, I was quite comfortable compromising my ideals.  Maybe that’s the point, as with all things, cooks have to find their way between idealism and pragmatism.

Rather than sweat my unintentional endorsement of the ever-growing pork fat cult, let’s just say the soup is a wonderful showcase of the pancetta and what’s the shame in that?  It was very cool to see one awesome ingredient shine and be supported be the others.  Go forth and find your pancetta this weekend, intrepid readers.  Cook on!

  1. Pancetta! YES!! I am for all things pork!

    I hope you are feeling better; your soup looks like just the ticket for a stuffy head.

  2. spamwise said:

    A tip — chicken stock (from scratch) is even better, assuming you have the time and inclination to make it. The time investment is huge up front (about six to eight hours total) but worth it in the end. Just make a couple of quarts and freeze until needed, plus the flavor beats canned imho. I’m not knocking canned stock — I use it occasionally myself.

    Soup looks good. I have a feeling there’ll be a pot of minestrone sometime this weekend. It was in the upper 40s this morning…wasn’t it August just a few weeks ago? *sigh*

    • My coworkers are reporting that it’s snowing where they live. In October. And it’s not the mountains.

      Homemade is, of course, best–we had a bunch of bones to make a stock with for a while, but we never got around to it and had to dump them when we moved, so we have to start over in accumulating them once again.

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