I saw this recipe in a magazine while I was waiting for a doctor's appointment. I'm really glad I found it, because the final result after making it was a really good soup for a cold day.
I altered the recipe a bit based on what I had on hand yesterday. I didn't have a piece of parmesan cheese rind, but I did have a pretty good size piece of parm, so I threw that it. I didn't have any small pasta, so I used Dreamfields elbow macaroni. My use of the Dreamfields pasta cut the carbs by about 70%. No matter what you use as substitutes, please try this soup. I think you'll really enjoy it :). It will be a staple on my table this winter.
Cranberry Bean Pasta Fagioli
5 tb olive oil, with extra for drizzling
5 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 small onion, diced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 2 oz piece pancetta (optional)
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained and tomatoes crushed by hand
1 cup cranberry beans, soaked overnight
2 bay leaves
1 piece parmesan cheese rind, plus 1/2 cup grated parmesan, and more for topping
2 cups small pasta, such as shells or ditalini (I used Dreamfields elbows)
1 bunch kale, stems and ribs discarded, leaves chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat 3 tb olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and pancetta, if using, and cook two minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook two more minutes (note: be careful when you're crushing the tomatoes by hand. I crushed a bit to hard, and tomato juice sprayed all over me :) ).
Add salt to taste, then add beans and 3 quarts of water, along with the bay leaves and parmesan cheese rind. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 hours.
Uncover pot and bring the soup to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and parmesan rind. Add grated parmesan and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Top individual bowls with more olive oil and parmesan, if desired.