Just a quick post about today's recipe. This soup hales from The Italian Dish.
This was one of those dishes where I did all the prep work before heading to work, including pureeing half the beans with a splash of stock. Since Blockette and I aren't big fans of chunks of tomatoes, I pureed half of those too. I left some of the tomatoes whole because Mrblocko likes them.
Doing the prep work ahead of time meant I could just toss the ingredients in the pot and let it simmer away while I helped Blockette with homework and just generally chilled out. I love it when all you have to do is wait and the food just does it's thing.
Look how puffy those noodles got! They took on so much stock when they were cooking they look like they are going to explode. Strangely, they didn't taste over cooked. I'm not quite sure how that worked.
I will definitely make this recipe again.
Sausage and Bean Soup adapted from Italian Dish
1 c dried cannellini or cellini beans (this is about 1 1/2 c cooked) or 1 15-ounce can of any beans you like, drained - I used dried northern beans that had already been precooked
1 pound ground sausage, turkey or pork (I used Italian pork sausage)
1/2 medium onion, diced (I used 2 small onions)
1/2 medium carrot, diced (I used 1 large carrot)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
6 to 8 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 cup ditalini pasta, or any small pasta
grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I didn't have any so I omitted it)
If using dried beans, place them in a pot, cover with cold water and let soak for several hours or overnight. Drain. (I highly recommend precooking beans before using them in this soup. Not only will it cut down on prep time, but it will ensure that you don't have any dreaded "crunchy" beans.")
At this point I pureed half the beans and tomatoes.
In a large pot, brown sausage. Remove from pot. If there is a lot of fat left in the pot, pour this out but do not wipe out pot. Add onion, carrot and olive oil and saute 5 min til soft. Add garlic and saute about a minute more. Add tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, some salt and pepper, the beans and sausage. cover pot. Cook for 45-60 min over low heat, at a gentle simmer.
If the beans are not soft enough, cover the pot again and cook for another 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. This is where having precooked beans saves you a bunch of time. I checked my soup at 45 min, then added the pasta. Cool til the pasta is tender. This will depend on your cut of pasta. Mine took a little less than 15 min to get fat and poofy. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick for your liking, you can add more chicken broth.
I'm sure you could do the simmering in a crock pot minus the noodles. I haven't tried it, but I imagine 4-6 hrs on low should do it. If I was making this in the crock pot I'd cook the noodles separately and add them in just before serving, just to ensure the noodles didn't get over cooked.