Here’s Venetian White Bean Soup with Pasta and Beef Sausage, a version of pasta e fagioli that calls for fresh pasta and homemade beef sausage. It is a wonderfully homey and filling bean soup that can be a meal-in-a-bowl. If you like, add 2 cups chopped cooked Swiss chard or curly endive during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- 1 3/4 Cups dried white or Borlotti beans; picked over, rinsed (about 14 ounce)
- 7 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 onions; finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks; finely chopped
- 2 carrots; peeled, and finely chopped
- 3/4 pound freshly-made or purchased fresh fettuccine; cut into Maltagliati (irregular 1 1/2" pieces (or use dried tubetti pasta)
- 2 Cups meat broth; more or less
- 1/2 pound Beef Sausage (see Recipe) meat mixture; rolled into tiny meatballs
- salt, to taste
- freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Place the beans in a saucepan with cold water to cover generously and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain well, add fresh water to cover, and again bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, warm 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add to the beans and return to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the beaus are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove the bean mixture from the heat. Scoop out and reserve about 2 cups of the beans. Puree the remaining beans in batches in a blender or food processor, and place the puree, the reserved beans, and any cooking liquid in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; if the mixture is too thick, thin with hot water.
- While the soup is reheating, cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente, then drain. Add to the bean soup. At the same time, bring the meat broth to a gentle boil, add the meatballs, and poach until cooked through, about 5 minutes, depending on their size. Add the meatballs and the broth to the bean soup and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir often with a wooden spoon so the beans don't scorch and stick to the bottom of the pan. If the soup begins to thicken too much, you may need to add a little hot water.
- Just before serving, season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls and drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Grind a little pepper over the top and serve.
NOTES: Recipe from "Cucina Ebraica" by Joyce Goldstein