When we were on the East coast visiting during winter break, we took a little side trip to visit my brother in Philadelphia. It was a quick visit, but we had a very memorable meal. My sister-in-law, AAB, is a great cook. She always makes special treats for us when we visit, an effort which is not lost on any of us food lovers!
Dinner was so good on our recent visit, that I’ve made her recipes multiple times. One of them, I’ve written about: Speedy No-Knead Bread. For tonight’s bread, I added some lemon zest and rosemary to this simple bread. It was great, as usual. The girls still put honey on the bread, as my nieces did in Philly. Is there anything better than fresh bread with butter and honey? Such total comfort food.
The other dish that AAB cooked was Pasta e Fagioli (pasta fazoole), a hearty bean and pasta soup. The recipe that she used is from Cook’s Illustrated. She modified it to make it a little lighter by using Canadian bacon instead of pancetta. I’ve further changed it to make it a little more liquid by cooking the pasta separately. This helps because the recipe makes a lot of soup (it says it serves 8-10, but I think it is more like 6-8). By cooking the pasta separately, you can save and/or freeze the leftover soup for another day. I also add some chopped carrot. Tonight, when I made the soup, I threw in some green beans because I had them in the house. So the soup was more like a minestrone consistency, with the flavor of the Pasta e Fagioli.