This recipe is a twist on the Italian classic, Pata e Fagioli. Southern ingredients are used to replace traditional Italian ingredients.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Italian, Southern
Keyword: collard greens soup, Pasta e fagioli
Author: Whitney Reist | Sweet Cayenne
1whole country ham hock
1cupdried black-eyed peas
2tablespoonsof olive oil, plus more for serving
1mediumcarrot, peeled and finely chopped
1stalkcelery, finely chopped
¼of an onion, finely chopped
3clovesof garlic, minced
½teaspooncrushed red pepper flakes
6wholecanned San Marzano tomatoes
1Parmesan cheese rind
12cupsof water (3 quarts)
6cupsof fresh collard greens
8ouncessmall pasta, such as ditalini (gluten-free if needed)
3tablespoonsred wine vinegar (or pepper vinegar)
For serving: olive oil, Parmesan, crusty bread
Place the ham hock in a bowl and cover completely with water. Refrigerate overnight. Place the dried peas in a bowl and cover with water up to 2 inches above the peas. Cover and let sit on the counter overnight.
Drain the peas and ham hock. Let sit covered in the fridge until you are ready to make the soup.
Place a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add in the carrot, celery and onion and saute until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat as needed to keep the vegetables from browning. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the whole tomatoes and use a wooden spoon to break them up in the pot. Add the black-eyed peas, ham hock, bay leaf, Parmesan rinds, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 ½-2 hours until the peas are tender. Remove the ham hock, Parmesan rind and bay leaves. Add in the collard greens. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until greens are tender. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting until you are ready to serve the soup.
While the greens are simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a bowl. Add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the package calls for. During this process, remove the meat from the ham hock and cut into small pieces. Drain the pasta and add it to the soup along with the meat from the ham hock. Stir in the red wine vinegar (or pepper vinegar).
Ladle the soup into bowls and top as desired with drizzles of olive oil and freshly-grated Parmesan. Serve with hot crusty bread.
Store leftover soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.