Soup Master

Our columnist shares a time-honored recipe from her dad, who worked at a local cannery.

by Jean Hecker

One of my dad’s favorite suppers was always a big bowl of soup and a big hunk of Italian bread smothered in butter. He was a master soup maker, a skill garnered from his days as head engineer at Leggets Canning Company of Landisville, New Jersey, way back in the 1940s!

His mom was of Italian heritage and here is the recipe that my dad created using some of her basic ingredients, plus adding in his own touches.

Dad’s Pasta Fagiole Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, finely diced
2 – 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans (one of them pureed with 1 cup water)
2 carrots, finely diced
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 cup finely chopped escarole
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1 cup finely ground parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup ditalinii pasta, cooked

In large soup pot, heat olive oil, then add pancetta, carrots, onions, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper and saute on medium heat about 10 minutes until soft, then add in tomato paste and stir. Add in both whole and pureed cannellini beans, escarole, chicken broth and then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Add in cooked pasta.

Remove from heat, add in basil and cheese, stir well and serve with extra cheese on the side.

Jean Hecker has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the food and restaurant industry.

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Food for Thought