This is a great soup to warm your stomach on a cold winter night. So simple and so flavorful! I found this on Food Network, but tweaked it to be a little easier.
- 2 -3 pinches ground thyme (or a couple of shakes out of the bottle)
- 1 pinch rosemary (or a couple of shakes out the bottle)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 ounces bacon, chopped (or pancetta)
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 5 3⁄4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can red kidney beans
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can pinto beans
- 3⁄4 cup small shell pasta, I used orecchiette pasta
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1⁄3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- you can add pieces sausage or ham, which adds nicely to the flavor
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bacon, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add the broth, beans, and herbs (thyme, bay leaves, rosemary) . Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.
- Puree 1 cup of the bean mixture in a blender until smooth*. Before putting the puree back into the soup, add the macaroni and boil with the lid on until it is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. You can also add sausage or ham at this time as well.
- Return the puree to the remaining soup in the saucepan and stir well. Season the soup with ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with some Parmesan and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil just before serving.
- *When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.