Cook the pancetta in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta to paper towels to drain, reserving the fat in the pot.
Add the onion, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and a couple pinches of salt to the pot and saute, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
Deglaze the pot with the wine and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
Add the chicken stock, beans, tomatoes and 1 cup water to the pot. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender, about 30 seconds, keeping at least half of the beans intact (or puree in a regular blender, then return to the pot). Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 12 minutes. Stir in the pancetta and half each of the parmesan and basil. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and garnish with the remaining parmesan and basil.
Serve with Soppressata Sandwiches.
Split open and quarter 1 baguette. Layer thick slices of sharp provolone and thinly sliced soppressata on the bread. Add some baby arugula and drizzle with sweet Italian vinaigrette.
Photograph by Ryan Liebe
When blending hot liquid, first let it cool for five minutes or so, then transfer it to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters, and pulse until smooth.
Recipe courtesy of Jeff Mauro for Food Network Magazine