The Dinner Roll

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Monday: Eggplant curry from the Vij's cookbook - excellent
Tuesday: Pasta and red sauce
Wednesday: meat curry pulled out of the freezer
Thursday: Potato and Bean Soup (an adaptation from the following excellent recipe)

Really Good Pasta and Bean Soup
from The Kitchen Detective by Christopher Kimball, page 18
serves 10 to 12

1 pound dried white beans, navy or cannellini, rinsed, picked over, and soaked overnight*
2 whole cloves
1 small onion or 1 shallot
1 bay leaf
1 tsp table salt
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes packed in juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 ounces pancetta, finely chopped, optional**
3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
freshly ground black pepper
1 Parmesan rind, optional
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 pound small tubular pasta
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Place the [soaked] beans in a medium sauce pan and cover with 2 inches of water.
  • Stick the cloves into the onion or shallot and add it to the pot along with the bay leaf and 1/2 tsp of the salt.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook, covered for 30 minutes for the navy beans and 40 minutes for the cannellini or until the beans have begun to soften, but remain firm.
  • Drain the tomatoes, crush them with your hands, and reserve.
  • Place the oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and carrot (and optional pancetta) and saute for about 7 minutes or until the onion is translucent and softened.
  • Add the garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the clove studded onion and bay leaf from the bean pot.
  • Drain the partially cooked beans and add them to the onion mixture.
  • Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, several grinds of black pepper, and the optional Parmesan rind and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 40 minutes or until the beans are just tender.
  • Add the sage and rosemary and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until the beans are creamy.
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot over high heat.
  • Add the pasta and cook until just done, but still firm and toothsome.
  • Drain and, if not using immediately, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and stir to coat pasta.
  • Cover to keep warm if necessary.
  • Remove the optional Parmesan rind from the soup pot.
  • Place about 1/3 cup pasta in the bottom of each soup bowl. Ladle the soup over the pasta and top with a generous drizzle of best-quality olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

*The recipe as printed in my copy of this cookbook omits to tell you to soak the beans overnight.
**The easiest way to finely chop pancetta is to freeze it for about 45 minutes or until it becomes firm.

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