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I work with doctors that are Italian and I have been told that this recipe could most likely be the best pasta fagioli - try and let me know
- Remove the casing from the sausage using 1/2 sweet sausage and 1/2 hot sausage and cook over med. high heat in a large dutch oven make sure to crumble the sausage into fine pieces. Drain any greases that are left from the frying.
- In the same pot add your garlic and onions and cook till onions are clear. Add parsley and Italian seasonings.
- Add beans, stock and tomatoes(I like to use the Del Monte Diced with Italian seasonings) to the mixture and season to taste. Let this simmer at low heat for at least 2 hours. ( I usually make this portion the day before and refrigerate overnight.).
- In a separate pot boil 3-4 quarts of water, once it has boiled add a hand full of kosher salt. Add your ditalini and boil till slightly more than el dente is achieved. Firm not mushy but not hard - since this is added to the soup it will continue to absorb moisture out of the soup if it is too el dente. Reserve 1 cup of the noodle water. Drain noodles and give a 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil drizzle over the noodles.
- Add noodles to soup along with the 1 cup of reserved water. To serve the soup place in a shallow soup bowl - shave a few nice pieces of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top and serve with a slice of semolina bread.
This recipe is so good I won a soup cook-off with it! I followed the recipe to a T, but added about a cup of carrots for added color. Shaved parmesan and garlic bread made this soup a hit!
This is very good pasta fagioli. One cautionary note: don't add the salt until the soup is nearly ready and you taste it. I like salt and my soup was nearly too salty for me without adding any -- I think it depends on your sausage and the stock you use. I used some homemade, salt free and some store bought low sodium broth, but given the salt in the beans, in the canned tomatoes and in the sausage, the added salt is unnecessary (and the parmesan added as garnish is salty too). And this is a matter of personal taste I'm sure, but a pound and half of sausage is too much--overwhelming the other ingredients. That being said, we enjoyed it very much.