Ultimate Italian Comfort Food
A Quart Of Chicken Stock
6 Ounces Of Ditalini Or Orzo Pasta
1/4 Cup Diced Pancetta
A Pound Of Hot Or Sweet Italian Sausage
A Tablespoon Of Olive Oil
A Head Of Escarole Cleaned And Cut Into Two Inch X Two Inch Pieces
1 1/2 Cups Diced Spanish Onion
Three Garlic Cloves Minced
One Celery Stalk Diced
One Carrot Diced
28 Ounces San Marzano Tomatoes With Juice Hand Crushed
Two 15 Ounce Cans Of Cannellini Beans
Two Stalks Fresh Thyme
Two Stalks Fresh Italian Parsley
One Stalk Fresh Basil
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
Two Teaspoons Of Sea Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Into a soup pot, add the pancetta, sausage, and olive oil. Cook on low heat until the pancetta is crispy and the sausage is browned. Remove the sausage from the pot and let it drain on a paper towel.
Add the onions, celery, carrot, dried oregano, garlic, sea salt and the crushed red pepper flakes to the pot. Turn up the heat to medium high and cook the vegetables while stirring for four minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cook while stirring for two minutes. Add the beans (with the can juices) and cook for an additional two minutes. Add the chicken stock and the escarole. Tie the thyme, parsley, and basil into a bundle with butcher’s twine. Add the herb bundle to the pot. Stir the mixture to incorporate all of the ingredients. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil. When the soup reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and put a lid on the pot. Simmer on low heat for 50 minutes.
After 50 minutes, remove the herb bundle from the pot. Slice the sausage into 1/2 inch circles and add it to the soup. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, taste the soup and add more sea salt and/or crushed red pepper flakes if desired.
Add the pasta to the soup and cook the pasta until al dente (the pasta should firm with only a slight resistance in the center). Note: stir the soup frequently while the pasta is cooking so the pasta does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Serve with grated cheese.