- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 2⁄3 cup)
- 2 medium celery stalks, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
- 1 ½ cups chopped fennel (bulbs, stalks, and fronds)
- ¼ cup loosely packed fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup dried and peeled fava beans, soaked overnight (or one 15-ounce can, drained)
- ½ cup dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight (or one 15-ounce can, drained)
- 1⁄3 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or ½ 15-ounce can, drained)
- 6 to 8 cups water
- 2⁄3 cup Sardinian Fregula, Israeli couscous, or acini di pepe pasta
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Total Cook Time: 8 hours if using dried beans; 30 minutes if using canned beans.
MAKES 8 SERVINGS
1. Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery; cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
3. Stir in the tomatoes, potatoes, fennel, parsley, and basil, as well as the drained beans and chickpeas. Add enough water (about 6 to 8 cups) so that everything is submerged by 1 inch.
4. Raise the heat to high and bring pot to a full boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly, uncovered, until the beans are tender, adding more water as necessary, about 1 ½ hours. If using canned beans, simmer for only 10 minutes.
5. Stir in the pasta, salt, and pepper. Add up to 2 cups of water if the soup seems too dry. Continue simmering, uncovered, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
6. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into bowl before serving.