A Virtual Pot of Pasta Fagioli Soup for my Friends

As I sit in the comfort of my home taking heat and electricity for granted, I can’t stop thinking about all those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. Lives were lost, homes destroyed, total devastation, many still without heat and power, and to make matters worse, snow is now on the ground.
I have friends who are affected by this storm, if I were closer I’d make them all a big pot of pasta fagioli soup, it’s warm, comforting, a complete meal with crusty bread and it feeds a bunch.
I stock up on cheese rinds in the winter, ( thank you Whole Foods) I always have them on hand in my freezer, so inexpensive but makes a world of difference in flavoring your broth, it makes the best soup ever!
Ditalini, my pasta of choice!
Ingredients for my soup are;
Garlic, leeks, onions, carrots, red potato, zucchini, white beans, swiss chard, crushed tomatoes, broth, pasta and cheese rinds, rosemary and thyme.
I wish I could tell you I measure but I don’t! I start out with a big pan, drizzle the bottom with olive oil then saute the first 6 ingredients ( generous amounts of all, just 2 crushed garlic cloves though) then open up and pour in 2 cans of white beans and a 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes. Add your chard then fill your pot to the top with broth, homemade or boxed, and throw in 3 cheese rinds and the fresh chopped herbs.
I cook my pasta, and keep it separate, adding as much as I want into my serving bowl. I never add it to the big pot, I don’t like when it blows up really big and gets mushy.
Let it simmer for a good hour or so until veggies are tender then add a generous handful of grated cheese and stir.
I can’t be near to help those in need, but by donating to the Red Cross I feel it’s the least I can do, and so can you, here’s the link!

Linda, Stacey, Pat, Maryann and Barbara, this pot’s for you! xox