Serves 8 +
Pot meals like this one are delicious and practical: you can serve six or more and have some left for freezing. To add more texture and volume to the soup, you can add a cup of rice or 2 cups of pasta in the last 10 to 20 minutes of cooking. If you have never cooked with dry fava beans, this will be a revelation, and I am sure they will become part of your -dry–legume shopping in the future.
- ¼ cup -extra--virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 1 bulb fennel, halved, cored, and chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound shelled dried favas, soaked overnight and drained
- 1½ pounds pork spareribs (for a meatier soup, use 3 pounds), cut into -2--rib pieces
- 1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 pound), chopped
- 1½ cups ditalini
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Once the garlic begins to sizzle, add the onion, fennel, and carrot. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Clear a space in the pot, and add the tomato paste. Toast the tomato paste for a minute or two, then stir it into the vegetables. Add 6 quarts of cold water, the drained favas, and the ribs, and simmer until the ribs are tender and the favas begin to melt into the soup, about 1 hour.
Add the Swiss chard and salt. Simmer until the chard is tender, another 30 minutes or so. Add the ditalini, and cook until it is al dente, according to package directions. Serve hot.