Aired August 27, 2007
4 thick slices pancetta, about half-inch thick each, diced
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme with several sprigs on it
1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
1 medium onion, chunked
2 small carrots, chunked
4 rib celery, chunked
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
Coarse salt and pepper
2 15-ounce cans butter beans, drained
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 box rigatoni
Grated Parmigiano or Romano cheese, for the table
Crusty bread, for mopping
Heat a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add EVOO and pancetta and brown pancetta bits lightly. Add herbs, bay leaf, vegetables and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Add beans, tomatoes and stock to the pot, and raise heat to high.
Bring soup to a rapid bubble and add the pasta. Reduce the heat to medium and cook soup for 6-8 minutes or until pasta is cooked to al dente, stirring occasionally.
Remove the stems and bay leaf from soup and let it rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Place the pot on a trivet on the table so the hot pot does not burn your table, then ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of cheese and another little drizzle of EVOO. Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.