Cover the beans with boiling water and set
aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Heat the oil with 1 tablespoon rosemary in a soup pot over medium
heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until the onion
is softened and starting to color in places, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and parsley and cook for a few minutes more.
Drain the beans and add them to the pot along with the tomatoes and
2.5 quarts chicken stock.. Add chili pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the
heat, then simmer,
covered, until the beans have begun to soften, about 1 hour. Add
2 teaspoons salt and continue cooking until the beans are
completely tender another 30 minutes or so.
Puree half the soup to give is some body--or leave it thin. (For a
thicker smooth soup, puree all of it.)
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, then drain. Strain the
rosemary oil. Ladle the soup into bowls and add some pasta to each.
Drizzle some of the oil over each bowl and add pepper to taste.
Cover with thin shavings of Parmesan.
White Bean and Pasta Soup with Sage: Replace the rosemary with 2
tablespoons chopped sage or 1 tablespoon dried and add 1/4 teaspoon
red pepper flakes. For garnish, fry 12 fresh sage leaves in 1/4 cup
olive oil until they darken. Serve them floating on the soup and
the remaining oil drizzled over the top.
White Bean and Pasta Soup with Greens: Remove and discard the stems
from 1 bunch of chard, spinach, mustard greens, or kale. Coarsely
chop the leaves and saute in a little olive oil with a little
chopped garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes until tender. Add a
little water to the pan if it's dry and the greens aren't done.
Times will vary, so taste them. Season with salt and stir into the
soup just before serving.