Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pasta & Bean Soup

Soups with a good balance of carbs, proteins, and veggies make me very happy. Soups like that that are easy to make pretty much make my day. From Eating Well, here is a simple, homestyle recipe for Pasta and Bean Soup.

Using basic canned goods and a few other staples, you can make this comforting soup in just minutes. The trick to achieving a full-bodied homemade flavor from canned chicken broth is to freshen it up with a handful of herbs, some garlic cloves and crushed red pepper. For a meatier flavor, add a little crumbled cooked Italian turkey sausage to the soup.

8 servings, 1 cup each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

4 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
4 4-inch sprigs fresh rosemary, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 15-1/2-ounce or 19-ounce can cannellini, (white kidney) beans, rinsed, divided
1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup medium pasta shells, or orecchiette
2 cups individually quick-frozen spinach, (6 ounces) (see Ingredient note)
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, (optional)
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine broth, garlic, rosemary and crushed red pepper in a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven or soup pot; bring to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes to intensify flavor. Meanwhile, mash 1 cup beans in a small bowl.
Scoop garlic cloves and rosemary from the broth with a slotted spoon (or pass the soup through a strainer and return to the pot). Add mashed and whole beans to the broth, along with tomatoes; return to a simmer. Stir in pasta, cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in spinach, cover and cook just until the spinach has thawed, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each serving with a drizzle of oil, if desired, and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Variation: Substitute chickpeas (garbanzo beans) for the cannellini beans; use a food processor to puree them.

Ingredient Note: Individually quick-frozen (IQF) spinach is sold in convenient plastic bags. If you have a 10-ounce box of spinach on hand, use just over half of it and cook according to package directions before adding to the soup in Step 3.

Per serving: 133 calories; 2 g fat ( 1 g sat , 0 g mono ); 6 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 4 g fiber; 356 mg sodium; 29 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (35% daily value), Fiber (16% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 1/ 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat