Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cook everything in bacon fat part 2

Duck fat is best but bacon fat is easier. I haven't roasted a duck in a while so my supply of duck fat has been dwindling...

Tuscan Pasta e Fagioli Soup
It's hazy from the steam but you get the idea...

1. Soak cannelini (dried) beans overnight. I didn't have overnight - if you don't either you can put the beans in boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes. I used about a cup of beans. After boiling, turn the heat off and let the beans sit in the hot water for an hour or two.
2. In another pot, COOK SOME BACOOONNN! I cut up some bacon into small dice and cooked them til crisp. Remove the bacon and save... reserve some fat in the pot to cook your garlic (2-3 cloves, roughly chopped) and diced onions. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. When these have all softened, discard the rosemary. Scoop the garlic and onion into a blender or food processor.
3. Scoop the beans and about half their cooking liquid into the blender/processor and pulse until smooth.
4. Add roughly chopped kale to the pot with the bacon fat. Braise with some of the bean liquid. Once softened, add the bean puree to the kale, as well as some tomato paste, about 2-3 Tbsp. Add more cooking liquid from the beans and keep adding this to regulate thickness. Simmer. I had a parmesan rind in the freezer that I'd been saving so I added this to the soup as well - it adds flavor and thickness.
5. Meanwhile cook some short pasta - I used mini shells. When these are all dente, add to the soup. Season everything with salt and pepper. Let the soup simmer for another 10 mins or so. If it gets too thick, keep adding the liquid from the beans or regular water.
6. During this time you can make garlic bread. Just slice some good crusty bread and toast it. Once it's nice and brown, drizzle with olive oil and rub with a garlic clove.
7. To serve soup, sprinkle with reserved bacon and garnish with some fresh rosemary. Sop with garlic bread. We didn't have any wine last night but I think a nice Soave would've gone well.

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