In March of 2001, while visiting Florence, Italy, Robert and I took a day trip to the Tuscan town of Siena. Our guide parked her car in a lot outside the city walls, and we wound our way through a warren of narrow cobblestone streets toward the piazza in the center of the town. About halfway there, rain began to pour. We had one tiny travel umbrella between the three of us which was pretty much useless. When we arrived at the trattoria where we planned to have lunch, we were completely drenched and very cold.
As we entered the little trattoria, the owner told our guide that she was out of pasta dishes and most everything else. (I noticed a large rowdy group of men at the back of the restaurant drinking grappa and wondered if perhaps they had eaten all of the food!)
Perhaps because of our bedraggled appearance and desperate expressions, the owner took pity on us and offered to go back to the kitchen and prepare a pot of Tuscan bean soup for us. We gladly accepted her offer.
When our large steaming bowls of soup arrived, the kind lady drizzled some olive oil and grated fresh parmesan cheese over the top. Robert and I devoured every drop! We both thought it was about the most delicious thing we'd ever tasted.
Sadly this was before I had a digital camera, so I have very few pictures from that day. How I wish I had a picture of that delicious bowl of soup!
I have attempted to recreate the dish we so enjoyed in Siena. This version is likely not even close to the real thing, but at any rate it is probably Robert's favorite dinner that I make. It is incredibly easy and fast to prepare and tastes great the next day too.
1 grocery store roasted chicken chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces
2 large carrots or 8-10 baby carrots, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 box chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can white beans, drained
a couple of generous pinches of Italian seasonings (I used basil and oregano this time)
1 box penne pasta, cooked al dente and drained
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, to grate over top
Saute chopped vegetables in a little bit of olive oil under tender. Add chicken, broth, beans, tomatoes and Italian seasonings. Let simmer 10-15 minutes. Stir in pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls. Grate fresh Parmesan over top and drizzle with a little olive oil. Enjoy!
Married for 27 years to Robert, three kids: Will (23), Vivian (20) and Dots (17) ~~~~
Majored in mathematics at SMU, taught elementary school for six years before Will was born, currently tutoring math ~~~~
Things I enjoy: playing duplicate bridge, working NY Times crossword puzzles, reading good books, entertaining, visiting with friends, planning trips, traveling, playing board games, spending time with family, cooking, keeping up with old friends ~~~ happy to correspond with other parents about raising a child with special needs
I unintentionally contaminated all of the pictures on my blog when I changed my privacy settings on Flickr. I am working backwards to correct them all, but it is quite a tedious procedure! If you encounter a post with error messages from Flickr where the pictures should be, then I haven't gotten to that post yet. Please let me know and I will update it immediately. Thanks for your patience!