This week begins the best four week stretch in all of sports. March Madness. It may help that my team is currently #1 in the country (Go Bucks!), but I know tons of people that don't really follow college basketball all season and still get pumped up for the tournament. It all starts this week with the conference tournaments which leads to "Selection Sunday" and then the real fun begins. There is nothing better than that first weekend with games all day Thursday through Sunday.
If you're like us, we kind of block off those first four days and just veg out in front of the tube. This soup would be a perfect thing to make for that weekend. It's hearty, satisfying, full of flavor and easy to put together. I used dried beans but you could just as easily use canned to save some time.
Hubs and I polished off an entire pot of this during the past week and I can see making this one again and again.
Here's the recipe:
Bean and Pasta Soup
King Arthur Flour
2 cups of beans: these can be whatever you want but a mised soup blend is colorful and fun (I used dried beans and did a quick soak by covering beans with water, bringing to a boil and letting sit covered for a few hours)
Water to cover (2 to 2 1/2 quarts) (Not necessary if you are using canned beans)
2 1/2 quarts stock (chicken, beef or vegetable) (I used homemade chicken stock)
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 to 2 cups grated carrots (I used one cup of already shredded carrots from a bag!)
1 to 2 cups chopped celery
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced (or more or less depending on how you feel about garlic)
1 pound plum (or other) tomatoes, skinned and chopped (I used one 28oz can of chopped tomatoes)
1 tablespoon fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried); or use a little oregano, marjoram, savory, etc., whatever smells or tastes good to you (I used basil)
1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1 cup pasta or your choice, either small or broken in pieces (I used whole wheat farfalle)
1 pound sausage; sweet or hot or a combination, crumbled, cooked and drained (I used hot Italian sausage)
The night before you want to serve your soup, cover the beans with fresh water and let them soak until about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before your meal. (Like I said, I did a quick soak or you can use canned beans)
Drain them, put them in a soup pot and add the stock. Stir in everything else except the pasta and sausage, bring to a boil and let simmer until the beans are almost tender.
Add the pasta and sausage and cook until the pasta is tender. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread.