Aunt Angiolina’s Bean Soup
This soup has been one of my favorites since I was a child. Although I spent several weeks at the farm every summer when I was growing up, this is a dish that is not made much during the hot season. In winter we visited the farm only occasionally, so I did not eat this soup very often, but when I did, I cherished it even more. Only a few years ago I asked Aunt Angiolina the ‘secret’ details to her soup. So here you have it! (This soup is better if eaten the day (or two, three days) after it is made.)
Soak overnight one to two cups of dried pinto beans. (Aunt Angiolina preferred to use freshly shelled beans which they harvested in mid-summer!)
Discard the water and cook the beans with salt and abundant fresh water (you can also add, for extra flavor, half of a small onion, to be discarded when the beans are cooked).
When the beans are thoroughly cooked, puree them in a food mill with some of their broth. If you like, you can leave half a cup of whole beans for the soup. I happen to like my soup liquid, so I usually puree them all.
Brown 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic, add a cup of tomatoes, fresh or canned. Cook for 15 minutes or so, put 1-2 tablespoons of parsley and cook for another 5 minutes. Once again puree everything through a food mill and add to the bean mixture
Add 4-6 cups of water to the mixture, bring to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste and put in 1 to 2 cups of small pasta, preferably ‘ditalini’ or little elbows.
Cook for another 10-15 minutes and then let stand for at least a couple of hours before eating….Taste it once again for salt and pepper and add another tablespoon of parsley. (Tuscans would put a hefty dollop of olive oil on this soup when they serve it. Rick likes this soup with broken up bread, olive oil and freshly ground pepper.) Buon appetito!