1/2 C. dried white pea beans, picked over and rinsed
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 C. chicken broth
2 tsp. leaf basil, crushed
2 – 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 medium-sized carrots, pared and chopped
1/2 C. orzo (rice-shaped) pasta
2 medium-size zucchinis, chopped (2 C.)
1/4 tsp. pepper
Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated
- Cover beans with water in large Dutch oven or saucepan. Refrigerate overnight, or to quick-soak beans, bring beans to boiling in water over high heat; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans. Place in small bowl.
- In same saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery; saute, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until tender.
- Add garlic; saute, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, beans and basil. Bring to boiling over high heat. Lower heat; cover and simmer 1 hour.
- Add tomatoes, carrots, orzo and zucchini. Return to boiling.
- Lower heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables and orzo are tender.
- Serve with grated cheese.
MAKE-AHEAD TIP: This soup is best made ahead of time and reheated. Can be made and refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.