Pasta e Fagioli "Harry's Bar" (Bean Soup With Noodles)

Pasta e Fagioli “Harry’s Bar” (Bean Soup With Noodles)

1 pound dried cranberry beans (also called Roman or October beans)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large, ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
5 cups water
5 cups chicken stock
Salt, if desired
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces tagliatelle or fettucine noodles, preferably fresh

  1. Sort, rinse and soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover them by two inches. Alternatively, quick-soak the beans by boiling them for 5
    minutes in the same amount of water. Remove from heat and let stand,
    covered, for an hour.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the garlic until it is golden
    brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon. Add the chopped onion to the
    oil and saute gently until soft but not browned. Add the chopped tomato and
    rosemary and cook gently for 2 minutes.

  3. Drain the beans and put them into a large, heavy pot together with the
    sauteed ingredients. Add 5 cups of water and 5 cups of stock and bring to a
    boil. Turn down the heat until the liquid barely simmers, using a metal heat
    dispersion plate if necessary. Cook for about 2 hours, stirring
    occasionally, or until the beans are tender but not mushy.

  4. Strain the cooked beans, reserving the liquid. Puree half the beans in a
    food processor or grind them through the finest disk of a food mill.

  5. Return the pureed beans and 2 1/2 cups of cooking liquid to the pot and
    stir to combine. Add the cooked whole beans and correct the seasonings,
    adding salt and pepper if desired. Cover the pot and adjust the heat so the
    soup barely simmers.

  6. Cook the noodles in rapidly boiling water until barely tender. Drain.

  7. Divide the noodles among the individual soup bowls, reserving half if
    second helpings are to be served. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles and
    serve at once.

YIELD 8 servings