Slow Cooker Pasta & Bean Soup

by Anne Bennett on October 17, 2010

The search for stellar slow cooker recipes continues. This week I hit a snag– I cooked (a euphemism, to be sure) a pork loin roast with cubed butternut squash and dried fruit. Sounds very fall-like and savory, doesn’t it?

To say that it didn’t work is another euphemism. The pork was so overdone that it fell apart into dry shards when I tried to slice it. And the butternut squash dissolved when I even gently stirred it with a spoon. In short, we had to eat it in bowls with spoons, not exactly what I had in mind for this particular dish.

Herein lies a limit to what slow cookers can and cannot do. They cannot cook dissimilar ingredients at the same time without overcooking some of them, which is why I think it’s a good idea to stick with recipes from actual slow cooker cookbooks written by bona fide authors/cooks who know how to use this convenient appliance properly.

Fall dinner on the patio.

I turned once again to Michele Scicolone, author of, “The Italian Slow Cooker”. My second attempt from her new cookbook (See “How to Kill a Chicken Twice…”) was this hearty vegetable-based soup, and it was spot-on in directions and taste. Delicious!  The pork fiasco is quickly fading from memory.

Here’s an adaptation of her Milan-Style Pasta and Bean Soup. This makes a lot of thick, rich-tasting soup, but fear not, you can freeze single or double portions for later.

2 T. olive oil
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
4 medium celery stalks, chopped
3 medium boiling potatoes, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 16-oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus extra if soup becomes too thick
4 oz. dried soup pasta, such as elbows or tubetti

In a large pot, heat oil. Stir in sage, rosemary, carrots, celery, potatoes and onions. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker.

Stir in tomatoes and beans. Add the broth and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on LOW about 6 hours, or until all ingredients are very tender.

Turn slow cooker to HIGH. Remove half of the soup and puree it in a food processor or blender. Return it to the slow cooker, add the dried pasta, cover and cook until pasta is tender, about 30 minutes.

Serves 8

If soup becomes too thick, add additional broth.

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amy October 18, 2010 at 11:13 am

There is an excellent slow cooker cookbook that I got at the Library once. It’s called The Gourmet Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley. I copied several of her recipes and use them often.

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