Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli

I have so many cooking options now, between my 660 curries and the Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe I bought myself after christmas.  I started out reading the soups section of the new best recipe, and although there IS a southeast asian soup in there, the pasta e fagioli ("pasta fazool") caught my eye.  It was probably the bacon, and the beans, since I'm still in my bean phase.  I noticed that pretty much all the other yuppies that shop at my whole foods are in a new year high protein low fat high fiber bean phase, so I got the last can of cannelini beans:



This soup photographs beautifully!  All three of the angles I took of it were delicious looking.  It also tastes pretty good.  It's got some nice smokiness from the bacon, and a great tang to the broth, because of the exciting anchovy paste and parmeseano reggiano rind it includes.  I was so excited about getting to use those ingredients!  Mr. Monk was very excited about the tiny bite of anchovy filet he got, as well.

I scarfed my bowl down, but I don't think I'll make this again for myself as frozen food cube fodder.  I was kind of hoping this soup would be hearty enough for a main course, but I don't think it really is.  When I serve my frozen portions to myself subsequently, I think I'll probably cook up some more of the shells to serve it over.  Having to cook again to augment the frozen food cubes negates the purpose of the frozen food cubes, so if I do make this again it will probably be as soup course in a larger meal.  I paired it tonight with a little vegetable salad with balsamic, and together the two would make a great starter to a fancy italian meal, I think.  Maybe I'm just extra hungry today though because I did a bike marathon this morning.  Maybe it actually is hearty enough to serve as an entree course.

The new best recipe cookbook is great.  In addition to the actual recipe, it has about as much text about how that particular recipe was selected (they do taste tests), and all kinds of other interesting, helpful tips and information (such as, in this case, the canned beans that scored highest in a taste test, and what shapes of pasta work best.)  When I selected this recipe, I got engrossed in reading the soups chapter like a book, not just a cookbook!

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