The Christmas season often means indulging in lots of rich foods. So I like to prepare this vegetarian soup that's hot and hearty but not heavy.—Mary Swartz, Palm Desert, California
- 1 cup dried great northern beans
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced fennel bulb or celery
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups uncooked bow tie pasta
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional
- Rinse and sort beans; soak according to package directions. Drain and rinse beans; discard liquid and set beans aside.
- In a Dutch oven, saute onions, carrots and fennel in oil until tender. Add garlic, pepper flakes and bay leaves; cook 1 minute. Add broth and beans.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until beans are almost tender, about 1 hour. Stir in pasta, tomatoes, parsley and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until beans and pasta are tender. Discard bay leaves. Serve with cheese if desired. Yield: 6 servings (2 quarts).
Originally published as Pasta and White Bean Soup With Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2011, p57
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