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Why tiny pasta? For soup.

Italians like to add tiny pastas to soup to thicken the juices and give it more body.

Our first recipe is fashioned after the popular combination past e fagioli--pasta and beans. The remaining two are variations on the theme. All are hearty and substantial enough to be the main dish for a family meal.

You can make these soups as much as two days ahead. When you reheat them, you may need to add a little water or broth to thin each soup to its original consistency. Look for the many shapes of soup pastas or pastina in the pasta section of your supermarket or in an Italian delicatessen.

White Bean and Pasta Soup 1/2 pound (1-1/4 cups) dried Great Northern white beans or dried small white beans 1 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 large onion, coarsely chopped 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed 2 teaspoons dry oregano leaves 2 quarts water 1 can (1 lb.) tomatoes 1/3 cup (about 2 oz.) soup pasta (see picture at left) Salt and pepper Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Sorth beans to remove debris. Rinse beans and set aside.

In a 5- to 6-quart pan on medium-low heat, fry bacon, stirring, until crisp. Lift out bacon and set on paper towels to drain; crumble and set aside.

Spoon out and discard all but 1/4 cup drippings; to drippings in pan, add onion, celery, garlic, and oregano. Cook on high heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add beans and water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until beans are tender to bite, about 2 hours.

Add tomatoes and liquid; break up tomatoes with a spoon. Stir in pasta, cover, and simmer until pasta is tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, bacon, and cheese to individual portions. Serves 6 to 8.

Red Bean and Lamb Soup 1/2 pound (1-1/4 cups) dried red kidney beans, dried pinto beans, or dried pink beans 4 lamb shanks (about 4 lb.), cracked 1/4 cup salad oil 2 medium-size onions, chopped 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint or 2 tablespoons dry mint leaves 1/2 teaspoon each dr rosemary leaves and ground cinnamon 2 quarts water 1/3 cup (about 2 oz.) soup pasta (see picture at bottom left) 2 tablespoons tomato paste 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed 3 tablespoons lemon juice Salt and pepper 1/4 pound feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes Lemon wedges

Sort beans and discard debris. Rinse beans and set aside.

In a 6- to 8-quart pan on medium heat, cook lamb shanks in 2 tablespoons oil, turning until evenly browned, about 20 minutes. Lift out shanks and set aside.

To pan, add remaining oil, onion, mint, rosemary, and cinnamon. Stir on high heat for 5 minutes. Return shanks to pan; add beans and water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until beans are tender to bite, about 3 hours.

Stir in pasta, tomato paste, garlic, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer until pasta is tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, cheese, and lemon wedges to individual portions. Serves 6 to 8.

Hoppin' John Soup 1/2 pound (1-1/4 cups) dried black-eyed beans or dried baby lima beans 3 tablespoons salad oil 1 pound each turnips and carrots, peeled and diced 1 medium-size red ball pepper, seeded and chopped 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed dried hot red chilies About 2 pounds ham hocks, cracked in halves 2 quarts water 1/3 cup (about 2 oz.) soup pasta (see picture at left) 1/2 pound mustard greens, washed, drained, and chopped

Sort beans and discard bebris. Rinse beans and set aside.

In a 6- to 8-quart pan on medium heat, combine oil, turnips, carrots, bell pepper, and hot chilies (use 1/2 teaspoon for milder flavor). Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add ham hocks, beans, and water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until beans are tender to bite, about 3 hours.

Stir in pasta; cover and cook until pasta is tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Stir in mustard greens just before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1985
Words:710
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