4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 oz. pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup elbow macaroni
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1. Wrap the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it with kitchen twine.
2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion, pancetta, and garlic, and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, beans, and sachet of herbs. 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. Discard the sachet.
3. In a blender, puree 1 cup of the bean mixture until smooth, then return the puree to the saucepan. Cover and return the soup to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni, cover, and boil, stirring occassionally, until the macaroni is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.
4. Season the soup with pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with Paremsan cheese and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
The Nest Magazine Holiday 2006
Photos By: Victoria Pearson
Photo By: Victoria Pearson