8 ounces orzo or other small pasta (ditalini, tubetini, conchigliette)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
How to make it
Note: This soup does not hold well because the pasta absorbs the liquid, becomes mushy, and leaves the soup dry. The soup can, however, be made in two stages. Once the beans are simmered with the tomatoes, before the broth and water are added, the mixture can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days. When ready to complete the soup, discard the Parmesan rind (otherwise it will become stringy), add the liquid, bring the soup to a boil, and proceed with the recipe.
1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and anchovies; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Add cheese rind and beans; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer to blend flavors, 10 minutes. Add chicken broth, 2 1/2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt; increase heat to high and bring to boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (refer to package instructions to better estimate pasta cooking time).
2. Discard cheese rind. Off heat, stir in 3 tablespoons parsley; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into individual bowls; drizzle each serving with olive oil and sprinkle with a portion of remaining parsley. Serve immediately, passing grated Parmesan separately.
Variation: add 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced lengthwise, 2 teaspoons grated orange zest and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds.