Pasta e Fagioli
This well-known Italian dish is a hearty, peasant-style soup whose name translates simply to “pasta and beans.” This is a quick-to-fix version made with canned beans and store-bought broth and because the pasta absorbs quite a bit of the added liquid, it turns out very thick – more like a stew than a soup. All you need is a salad to round out the meal, but a slice or two of garlic bread and a glass of Chianti are great additions.
- 3 cups (about 1-1/2 cans) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 3-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided (see notes)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can (15-ounce) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup ditalini, tubetti, elbows or small shell pasta
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating
- Using a conventional or hand held immersion blender, purée 3/4 cup of the drained beans together with 1 cup of the chicken broth and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and sauté, stirring frequently, until the carrots are crisp-tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the crushed red pepper and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the tomatoes, whole beans and remaining chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the puréed beans, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, then stir in the fresh parsley.
- Ladle into individual serving bowls and grate some cheese over the top of each.
If you like a thinner soup, simply add a little more broth and adjust the seasoning accordingly.