Autumn Soup with Pistou
- 1 (6-ounce) piece lean smoked bacon, diced
- 1 1/2 cups diced (1 medium-large) white onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2/3 cup diced (1 medium) carrot
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves or 1/2 teaspoon, dried
- 6 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 (1-pound) cans cannellini beans, rinsed well and drained
- 3 large firm ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped or 2 (1-pound) cans tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1 cup small pasta shells
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
In a soup pot or casserole cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is golden. With a slotted spoon transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan and add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock or broth and salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil and simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add the beans and tomatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta and simmer the soup, covered, for 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Let stand off heat, covered, for 5 minutes.
Make the Pistou: In a small food processor or blender, combine garlic, basil, Parmesan and pepper and with machine running, add oil in a stream. Puree until well blended. Add salt to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with the Pistou and accompanied by fontina and Parmesan toasts.
Recipe courtesy of Georgia Downard