I love to make soup in the winter. It's easy to make good soup and I'm often asked for my recipe. The response is always the same.
Recipe? It's soup. You don't need a recipe!
I do steal concepts, though. This one is based loosely on a recipe I found on the box of San Giorgio Ditalini pasta. Instead of a 5 quart saucepan, though, I use my 12 quart stock pot. You'll see why.
Their instructions don't call for cooking beans. They recommend 2 cans of pre-cooked beans, but paying more for less when beans are easy to cook doesn't work for me so I started fairly early this morning simmering the beans - a pound of them. It takes about 2 hours to cook Great Northern beans to the proper texture, but as long as you don't forget them, you can do lots of other things while you're waiting.
Their recipe calls for chopped onion. Today I'm all out, so dried minced is the order of the day -- be careful to read the package and note that 1 tablespoon of minced onion is equivalent to a whole lot more fresh chopped. I try to keep that in mind as I sprinkle generously over the cooked beans. No fresh garlic today, so powder will have to do. If you have fresh, chop it and cook until tender, but not brown, in a little olive oil.
I have leftover ham from yesterday's dinner, so that gets chopped while I cook the beans. About 3 cups. 4 would be better, but 3 will do.
Tomato sauce - the recipe calls for a 28 ounce can for half as much soup as I'm making. I add two 26 ounce bottles of pasta sauce and 2 cans of diced tomatoes.
Salt, pepper, a little oregano to taste.
Once the beans are done, add everything but the pasta and simmer for 30-40 minuted to blend the flavors. Add water and adjust the seasonings if needed. I decided it was a little bland, so I chopped about 3 ounces of turkey pepperoni and tossed it in.
Bring the pot to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes until the pasta is tender. You'll need to stir occasionally so the pasta doesn't clump at the bottom of the pan.
Freeze leftovers if you like. It reheats quite well.