This Italian pasta and bean soup is hearty and very inexpensive. Jordan loves it and often requests that I make it. Last week we had several days of chilly weather, so this was a perfect warm and hearty meal. You can add cooked chicken or sausage to it, but we always eat it without meat. Just add the cooked meat when you add the pasta and allow enough time for it to heat through.
This recipe came from a book that I borrowed from the library – it’s all about being thrifty. I think it was actually called Be Thrifty – catchy huh? Being the thrifty gal I am, I didn’t buy the book, I just copied this page out of it! I modified the recipe a bit to suit our tastes.
Pasta e Fagioli
2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cans broth, whatever kind you like. Chicken, beef, vegetable, all good. I use the bouillon cubes and water, keeping with the thrifty theme.
3 -14 1/2 ounce cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pesto sauce
4 – 15 ounce cans beans – I use a combo of white and red beans. The recipe calls for white and kidney beans. Use whatever you like or have in your pantry
2 to 3 cups of cooked pasta, again whatever you have. The recipe calls for elbow macaroni.
1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
Additional pesto for garnish
Heat oil in Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook while getting the carrots ready. Add the carrots and continue cooking for about 4 minutes.
Add the garlic, broth, tomatoes with their juice, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to the pot. Stir and then cover and bring to a boil. While the soup is cooking, I start opening the cans of beans and I drain and rinse them and then add to the soup and continue cooking on low with the lid on.
In a separate pot, cook the pasta. I normally under cook the pasta just a bit. When finished cooking, drain and set aside.
After about 20 minutes to 30 minutes, or close to when you’re going to eat, add the cooked pasta. It is a bit more work to cook the pasta separately, but I think it makes a huge difference in the consistency of the finished product.
Serve with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, pesto and basil on top.