I love this soup and am constantly looking for the perfect recipe. This one comes pretty close and has been my favorite one I've made so far. I took the recipe from America's Test Kitchen cookbook. I added parmesan cheese rind to the soup during the simmering stage. I also used dried beans that I'd cooked and frozen previously instead of canned beans. It was very quick to make and easy too. This recipe can be made in advanced and even frozen, which is very nice.
4 ounces bacon (about 4 slices), chopped medium
1 onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15.5 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed (I used 3 cups cooked dried northern beans)
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 cups watersalt8 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) small shaped pasta like ditalini, orzo and stellini
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
I also added 2 small chunks of parmesan rind to the cooking soup
Cook the bacon in a large dutch over over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Stir in the onion, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, beans, broth, water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. This is where I added the rind.
Stir in the pasta and cook until just slightly underdone. Off heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle individual bowls with grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.
This soup can be prepared through step 1, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month. Reheat over low heat before proceeding with step 2.