A hearty soup is the perfect family meal when there's a chill in the air, and Joyce Bethmann, of Aiken, has shared a recipe for a hearty meatless Italian soup she calls F-Soup. The "F" stands for fagioli, as in pasta e fagioli soup, which is a combination of beans, tomatoes and other vegetables and pasta.
Her original recipe called for soaking white beans overnight and then cooking them for about 2 hours, but she says you can substitute two cans of white beans for the lengthy process of soaking and cooking the beans. This shortcut makes the recipe a snap to prepare.
The recipe called for a large can of whole tomatoes and smashing the tomatoes with a wood spoon while the soup simmers, but I substituted canned tomatoes labeled "petite diced," which allows me to simmer the soup almost unattended.
Ms. Bethmann purees part of the soup before serving, but the step can be omitted. I pured the soup in the pot using an emersion blender, the safest method for pureing hot soups. If you do pure it in the blender, use caution and fill the blender less than half full.
1/4 cup butter or oil, or a combination of both
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 16-ounce can plum tomatoes and their juices
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
2 cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup datalini pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery and saute until the onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes, thyme, sugar and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally to break up the tomatoes for 15 minutes.
Add the beans and simmer for 15 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf and pure the soup a little bit using an emersion blender. (Alternately, part of the soup can be removed and carefully blended in a food processor or blender.)
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the cooked pasta in individual soup bowls and ladle the soup over the top. Sprinkle with the parsley.
Makes 10-12 servings.
NUTRITION ANALYSIS WITH BUTTER: Calories, 179; fat, 5 grams (2.7 grams saturated); carbohydrates, 25.2 grams; protein, 8.9 grams; cholesterol, 12.8 milligrams; fiber, 8.4 grams; sodium, 847 milligrams; and calcium, 77 milligrams
WITH OLIVE OIL: Calories, 185; fat, 5.8 grams (0.9 grams saturated); carbohydrates, 25.2 grams; protein, 8.8 grams; cholesterol 2.7milligrams; fiber, 8.4 grams; sodium, 820 milligrams; and calcium, 76 milligrams
Nutritional analysis provided by registered dietitian Jeannie Hatfield-Laube, research dietitian at the Georgia Prevention Institute, Medical College of Georgia, in conjunction with the Augusta District Dietetic Association.
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Coming next week: Maple oat banana bread from Augusta resident Mary Martin is perfect for a holiday brunch or as a gift for neighbors and teachers. See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).
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