28 January 2009

Fighting off the cold ... part II - a take on a pasta fagiole soup

I traditionally do the majority of my cooking on Sundays ... it's therapeutic, gets me set for the week, and makes good meals on weeknights feasible, since it's all there.

Well, this past Sunday ... I broke routine. Leaving me with other things to cook up this week, things I'd been planning on noshing on this week, without the effort. It happens.

So when it came to lunch today, with the dreaded "wintry mix" falling outside (snow, rain, a mix of both, wind, ice -- all the nasty stuff), I reached for the shell pasta in my cupboard and just started putting things into a pot on the stove. What I ended up with was a hearty pasta fagiole-esque soup that took minimal effort and cleared out some ingredients in my fridge. This is somewhat unconventional, but hell - it's delicious.

First, drop some medium shell pasta (or something similar, I like the shells for this but feel free to play) into a pot of salted boiling water. Once those are cooked, drain all but a cup or two of liquid off (just slightly less than covering the pasta). Wilt some spinach into the pot, add a can of stewed tomatoes with liquid, a partially drained can of kidney beans, a spoonful of pesto for flavoring, and about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of tomato sauce if you have some on hand.

I often add pesto to pasta I'm cooking, even if I'm dressing it with sauce or something else. It lends a delicious saltiness to the pasta that I just crave for some reason. I added the tomato sauce here a) because I had it handy and b) because it helped thicken the sauce, outside of the starchy cooking liquid and the liquid from the beans.

Seasoning wise, I added some fresh cracked garlic salt, ground pepper, a bit of chili powder, some chicken bouillon powder since I didnt't have stock on hand, and then a bit of Parmesan cheese.

Stir, season as needed, and serve. Absolutely delicious, and take about 15-20 minutes.

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