Snow, er, Wintry Mix Day

Here in Boston, it’s been a rough winter – below 0 degrees F temperatures, excessive snow, wind, etc.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love snow.  But this is just too much.  The snow on the streets is accumulating and the icicles above my apartment door are beginning to threaten my life.  So when I heard we were in for ANOTHER snow day, I tried to make the best of it.  Home activities!

I decided to bake some cookies and make some delicious soup.  Butterscotch chocolate chip cookies and pasta e fagioli, to be exact.  Now, doesn’t that sound like a great winter day spent indoors?  In the end, we didn’t even get snow.  It was a wintry mix, heavier on the rain.  Still a perfect opportunity to stay home!

Everyone has their personal favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Use it and substitute half of the chocolate chips  for butterscotch chips.  I always try to use a different recipe because I like to experiment.  For this batch, I used this Levain bakery copycat and liked it.

Next up, soup!  I started making this particular soup last year after reading various recipes and tweaking.  I’ve been calling it minestrone but I’ve recently realized it’s actually pasta e fagioli.  Does anyone know the difference?

Anywho, I prefer to make this soup with prosciutto but it can easily be omitted for a vegetarian option.  You can even make it vegan by not adding Parmesan cheese.  I also prefer to use vegetable broth but I’m sure any stock or broth would work.  Really, you can add, omit, or substitute ingredients as you please!

Pasta e Fagioli

1 tbsp olive oil

2 oz chopped pancetta

1 medium onion, chopped

2 small carrots, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

Veggie broth/ stock/ bouillon, as desired

14.5 oz can of chopped tomatoes

14.5 oz can of cannellini beans

1 cup ditalini pasta

Salt & pepper

Basil & parsley

LOTS of Parmesan cheese, to garnish

1. Heat oil over medium heat.  Add pancetta and cook about 2 minutes or until it renders its fat.

2. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

4. Add broth/stock, tomatoes, and beans.  The amount of liquid you use is up to you and you can add more later so it is best to add less.

5. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.

6. Take soup off the heat.  Grab your immersion blender and blitz about half the soup or until the desired consistency is reach.  If using a blender, be sure to let the soup cool down enough to avoid a major kitchen catastrophe.

7. Place soup back on heat.  Now is a good time to add more liquid, if needed.  Bring back up to a simmer

8. Stir in the ditalini and cook until al dente.

9. Turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in herbs.

10. Ladle into bowls and serve with lots of parmesan cheese.

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