Such a wonderful, comforting soup. This is an Italian classic brightened with fresh herbs. You can also use any small shaped pasta.
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 T. olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 3/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 (14 1/2 oz.) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup elbow macaroni
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
Wrap the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over a 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.
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 occasionally, until the macaroni is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season the soup with pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
From Giada's Family Dinners