Cook the bulk of this soup in the day time when the sun is out then finish it up with the pasta stovetop just before serving; later the same day or on a busy weeknight. The recipe can be doubled, but only heat up as much as you’ll be consuming right away. The pasta will get soggy and unpleasant in the fridge.
Sun Oven Navy Bean and Pasta Soup
1 cup dried navy beans, picked over, rinsed, soaked over night, and drained
1 bay leaf
1 onion, cut in half
1 stalk celery with leaves, cut into 3 pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 smal onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup chopped or crushed tomatoes
salt to taste
1 sprig rosemary
5 to 6 ounces small pasta, ditalini, shells, or mezzi rigatoni
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
Additional olive oil for serving
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Set Sun Oven out to preheat.
Put the beans in a pot with enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Add the bay leaf, onion, and celery. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaf, onion, and celery. Do not drain the beans.
In a separate pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt, cover and transfer to the Sun Oven alongside or on top of the beans. Cook until the flavors have blended, about 45 minutes. Remove and discard the rosemary sprig.
Add about 1 cup of the cooked beans along with some of the cooking liquid to the tomato mixture. Puree the mixture in a blender of food processor until smooth. In a large pot, combine the tomato puree and the remaining beans with the cooking liquid. The soup can be made up to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Just before serving, bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat. If the soup is too dry add some water. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan, until al dente. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar (if using). Ladle into bowls. Drizzle each serving with olive oil and dust with cheese.
Makes 4 servings.