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Mary Ann Esposito’s Meal of the Month | Pasta Fazool

In addition to being our Chef Network Partner, Chef Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia on PBS is a big fan of Backyard Farms when her own amazing garden is lying fallow. To show our customers just how much she loves our tomatoes, Mary Ann has agreed to share a meal she prepared in her home kitchen and photographed herself. We hope you enjoy this month's recipe and if you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for the foodie on your list, check out her newest cookbook Cia Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

"Winter can be very long and monotonous but eating does not have to be. Perk up dull, cold days with this delicious and easy to make beloved Italian soup chocked full of good ingredients like Backyard Farms Cocktail tomatoes, cannellini beans, pasta and herbs. For this particular batch, I used orzo. Orzo is a small soup pasta that is perfect to scoop up onto a soup spoon but elbows or any other small pasta is fine, too. One taste and winter won’t seem so long!"

− Chef Mary Ann Esposito

Backyard Farms Pasta Fazool

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ pound bacon or pancetta, diced

1 medium onion diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

4 cups cut in half Backyard Farms Cocktail tomatoes

2 cups vegetable broth

1-1/2 cups canned cannellini beans along with the liquid

Juice one lemon

1 cup cooked soup pasta like ditalini, orzo or elbows

In a soup pot, heat the oil and add the bacon or pancetta and cook it until it is crispy. Transfer the bacon to absorbent paper and set aside.

Cook the onions in the drippings until they begin to wilt; add the garlic and allow it to soften, stir in the tomato paste, rosemary and dried red pepper flakes. Add the tomatoes and cook them down until they have shrunk. Add the vegetable broth, cannellini beans with their liguid and the lemon juice.

Bring everything to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked pasta and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and sprinkle the soup with the bacon or pancetta.