The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is nearing a close for 2013. While there is still that sense of excitement in the air, we are only moments away from the winter doldrums that inevitably hit come January. The bitter cold is not as bearable when the celebrations and get-togethers are over, and warm weather is so far away. It is no wonder people go into hibernation mode, and the population seems to drop.
A trip to the grocery is a chore in single digit temperatures. I find myself gravitating toward what I have on-hand to throw together something to eat rather than venturing out. I made a batch of pasta e fagioli soup that put to use a number of ingredients in the pantry. Each satisfying spoonful of the tomato-laced broth was packed with warm and hearty bites of cannellini beans and orecchiette.
Pasta e Fagioli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans
2-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces dried orecchiette
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and carrots until they start to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions and carrots are completely soft, another 4 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, beans, stock, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the soup thickens slightly. Add the orecchiette and continue simmering until the pasta is al dente.
Garnish with Parmesan before serving.