Recipe: Red Kidney Bean and Orecchiette Soup

Orecchiette and Kidney Bean Soup1

Soups are one of those unexpectedly complex dishes to make right.  Most good soups take time and care to get the right depth of flavors so sometimes I’m lazy to make them.  I love this recipe because it contains healthy, simple ingredients and can be made in about 45 minutes.  The result is a deep, smoky, flavorful soup that packs a punch with red kidney beans as the star protein.  The addition of some pasta makes it into a one pot meal, and who doesn’t love that!

Orecchiette and Kidney Bean Soup2

Orecchiette and Kidney Bean Soup3

Red Kidney Bean and Orecchiette Soup:
Prep time: 15 mins| Cook time: 30-45 mins| Serves: 8

Adapted from Serious Eats.

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes packed in juice, or a combination of whole and diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon butter
3 strips of bacon, finely chopped or 3 ounces pancetta
1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
6 cloves garlic, minced on a microplane grater
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth, or bouillon cubes with water
2 (15 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans
2 bay leaves
1 cup orecchiette or any small pasta
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1.  Pour the tomatoes into a medium bowl and using hands, squeeze each tomato through your fingers to break it up into small pieces (be careful, they can squirt). Set aside.

2.  Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until butter is melted. If using bacon or pancetta, add to pan and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant and softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice, chicken broth, kidney beans, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a bare simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, adding pasta to soup for the last 5 to 10 minutes (depending on the package directions). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves, stir in parsley and serve, drizzling each serving with extra-virgin olive oil at the table.

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