- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 3/4 cup broken spaghetti or linguine
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk, or cut from casing
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 bulb fennel, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 can cannellini beans (14 ounces), drained
- 1 can chickpeas (14 ounces), drained
- 8 cups Chicken Poaching Liquid (recipe follows) or store-bought chicken stock
- 2 plum tomatoes
- A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to pass at the table
- Ciabatta rolls, for serving
For the chicken poaching liquid:
- 1 whole chicken (4 pounds)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 carrots, quartered
- 2 ribs celery, quartered
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 large onion, quartered, with root end attached
- A few stems of black peppercorns
- A few stems of fresh rosemary
- A few stems of fresh thyme
Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the pasta and toast until deep golden, nutty and fragrant, then remove the pasta and reserve. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO and raise the heat a bit. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then transfer the sausage to a plate. Add the carrot, fennel, garlic and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Return the sausage to the pot and add the beans and Chicken Poaching Liquid or stock.
Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the tomatoes into the soup. Add the rosemary and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Simmer the soup to combine the flavors. Return the soup to a boil, stir in the toasted pasta and cook until al dente.
Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and top with the cheese. Serve with ciabbatta rolls.
Cook's Note: If you are not serving the soup immediately, cool and store it in the refrigerator before adding the pasta. Return it to a boil and cook the pasta as directed.
To make the chicken poaching liquid: Place the chicken in a pot and add the bay leaves, carrots, celery, lemon, onion, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and some salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and poach the chicken for 1 hour. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones and separate the meat into bite-size pieces. Strain the stock and reserve.