“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie… That’s amore“. This 50’s era hit is one of my favourite songs when doing karaoke. I always manage to get a good laugh out of my audience belting out this Italian American classic at the top of my lungs. I’ve always told myself they
- 3″ block of leftover meatloaf, 1/2 lbs italian sausage, or 4 strips of bacon (optional)
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 3 medium stalks celery chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 c vermouth
- 1 qt chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 c chopped tomatoes
- 3/4 c borlotti beans (cranberry) soaked overnight
- Parmesan rind
- 1/4 c chopped fresh basil
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 oz dried pasta (i used orecchiette)
- Parmigiano-reggiano for serving
- If you are using uncooked meat such as pancetta or Italian sausage, brown them first, transfer to a plate, then use the fat they release to make the soffritto.
- If you are use precooked meat or are making this vegetarian, add a generous splash of olive oil to a stock pot (about 2 Tbs).
- Fry the ingredients for the soffritto until soft and about halved in volume. This process deepens the flavour of the soffritto (aka mirepoix) through a Maillard reaction, which causes sugars in the veggies to react with amino acids to form new flavour compounds.
- Add the vermouth to the soffritto and cook until there is no liquid left. Add the chicken stock, chopped tomatoes, beans, Parmesan rind, basil, bay leaf and thyme. Allow this to simmer uncovered until the beans are tender (about 1 1/2 hours). If the soup start getting too thick, add a bit of water and continue cooking with a lid.
- When the beans are tender, taste for salt and add more if needed. Add the pasta and cook until tender, you may need to add a bit more water if the pasta absorbs too much. Serve with bread and a generous dusting of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.