If a homebody is someone who enjoys staying at home, then lately I think I’ve carved out my own niche and become a bedbody. I cannot emphasize how much time, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent buried under mounds of soft pillows and comforters. Each morning when the alarm goes off and I have to get ready for the day, parting with my bed is the saddest goodbye ever. And when I’m at work, my thoughts frequently turn to how nice it would be if I were slumped in my bed with my iPad instead of shuffling through mountains of paper.
I think this has to do with being particularly stressed out about work these days. Last weekend, I brought home a pile of stuff to do, intending to be diligent and productive. Instead, I spent a good chunk of time lying in bed catching up on old seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, and then, when that got too tiring, napping. I know, guys. My work ethic is an inspiration to all.
What’s really going on is that there’s a project that is causing me so much anxiety that I’ve become paralyzed. Instead of dealing with it, I adopted an ostrich-like approach and buried my head in the mass shootings, Valentine’s Day roof collapse victims, and impossible medical miracles that rotate through the doors of Seattle Grace. I took to my bed, if you will, like people used to do in the old days. (I wish we still did that. It sounds so dramatic!)
But on Sunday, I got up and forced myself to work for a couple of hours. And it wasn’t too bad. And then in the afternoon, once I was done working for the day, I made this soup, something simple and comforting to soothe my nerves. Pasta e fagioli (meaning pasta and beans) is an item frequently seen on the menus of Italian restaurants, and this version is delightful — rich and tomato-y and full of pasta shells to nibble on. It’s the perfect thing to slurp down at the kitchen table — or, if you’re me, in bed, while watching the doctors of Seattle Grace hop into each other’s beds.
Pasta e Fagioli
Adapted slightly from Shutterbean
Note: I found the soup, made according to the recipe, to be slightly too sour so I also added a couple of pinches of sugar.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 oz. pancetta, minced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (32 oz.) chicken or vegetable stock
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup dried pasta (medium shells or elbow macaroni)
In a large pot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add pancetta, onion, and garlic and saute slowly, stirring until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, sage, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste and simmer for 20 minutes. Add beans and stock and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Add pasta and simmer until pasta is tender, 12-15 minutes.
Serve immediately. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired. Soup can also be frozen for up to 1 month.