Lemon Snowcap Beans and Stars Soup

Another week, another soup recipe.  Soup is so convenient for a packed lunch, easy to load with vegetables and protein, and so satisfying when heated up.  This recipe even uses tiny star pasta, though you can use any kind of tiny pasta if you can’t find stars.

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Rainbow Swiss chard just makes me smile.  I remember the first time I saw it at the Union Square farmers’ market in Cambridge.  I barely knew what it was, and I certainly didn’t know what to do with it, but I bought it anyways because the pinks and reds and yellows of the stems were so bright.  When I got home, I removed the rainbow stems and displayed them in a little vase.

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Shouldn’t good food make you smile?  I love the green and pink of the Swiss chard.  Plus, tiny star pasta?  This whole soup makes me smile!

Lemon Snowcap Beans and Stars Soup

to cook the beans:

  • 1 cup dried snowcap beans, soaked for at least 2 hours (sub dried cranberry beans or cannellini beans)
  • 4 cups water

to cook the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup small star pasta
  • 1 bunch chard (about 6 large leaves), de-stemmed and roughly chopped.
  1. Take the soaked beans and put them in a large Dutch oven with 4 cups of water.  Cook over medium heat until the beans are soft.
  2. Drain the beans, and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. Clean out the Dutch oven, and then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to it over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion, garlic and lemon zest and stir.  Cook until the onions are translucent.
  5. Add the reserved cooking water from the beans back to the pot, along with 3 more cups of water.
  6. Quarter the lemon you zested and add it to the post as well, along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  7. Simmer the lemon broth for 20 minutes.
  8. Bring the broth to a light boil and add in the star pasta.  Cook at a boil for 7 minutes.
  9. Turn the heat back down to a light simmer, and remove the quartered lemon.  Use a wooden spoon to squeeze all of the juice out of the lemons and discard the rinds.  Add enough water to the lemon juice to have 1 cup of liquid.  Add this back to the pot.
  10. . Add the beans and the Swiss chard to the pot, and cook over low heat for another 5 minutes.
  11. .  Add additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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