White bean soup is a quick fix for a hearty meal | NevadaAppeal.com

White bean soup is a quick fix for a hearty meal

Marialisa Calta
United Feature Syndicate

This soup is quick and easy and more than the sum of its parts. And to make it even better, it’s inexpensive to prepare.

WHITE-BEAN AND

TOMATO SOUP

1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped (optional)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (optional)

1 (26-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce

1 (14.5-ounce) can vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup water, plus more if needed

1/2 cup orzo, ditallini, elbows or other small pasta

1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed

Freshly ground black pepper and salt (if needed)

About 6 tablespoons prepared basil pesto

Toasted slices of baguette (optional)

If you have time, heat the oil in a pot set over medium-low heat, and saute the onion and garlic, stirring frequently, for five minutes. If you are in a hurry, you can skip this step, and omit these ingredients.

Add the spaghetti sauce, broth, water, pasta and beans to the pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Add pepper and salt to taste, if needed.

To serve: Ladle the soup into warm, shallow soup bowls, and swirl a generous spoonful of pesto in the center. Alternatively, spoon the pesto onto a toasted baguette slice and “float” it in the soup bowl.

Yield: 4 main-course servings

• Marialisa Calta is the author of “Barbarians at the Plate: Taming and Feeding the American Family” (Perigee, 2005). For more information, go to http://www.marialisacalta.com.