Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pasta Fagioli: You'll Sing "Vita bella"

My husband and I are big fans of soup...and almost any will do! We even love Campbell's Soups...especially Old Fashioned Tomato with Rice and Cream of Celery. But now that I'm home I'm trying to get away from the canned varieties and make my own. Last week I made carrot soup and today I'm trying Pasta Fagioli.

Pasta e fagioli or pasta fagioli or the colloquial pasta fazool  means "pasta and beans" and had it's beginnings as an Italian peasant dish due to cheap, available beans and pasta. 'Pasta fazool' even gets a mention in the famous song "That's Amore" so popular is this dish in Italian and American culture. Check out Dean Martin in this youtube video!

The first time I tried this soup was over 10 years ago with a friend from work at a restaurant in DUMBO...I was skeptical not being a great lover of beans back then but I gave it a try and was immediately won over. It's now one of my favorite soups. I located a recipe that sounded like a good beginning and added a few things to it to mimic a soup I remember having in Rome. The result was delicious, a hearty vegetable soup with some Italian sausage added to make it even richer! I paired this with a green salad and fresh prosciutto bread from a local bakery. Perfect for a cool fall evening. 

Pasta Fagioli
Serves 4

2 stalks celery, chopped 
1 onion, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
2 teaspoons dried parsley 
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (less or none if you don't like spicy) 
salt to taste 
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth 
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped 
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 
1/2 cup uncooked pasta (I used Gemelli)
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, with liquid 
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, with liquid
1 (15 ounce) chick peas, with liquid
I/2 cup diced Italian sausage

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook celery, onion, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper and salt until onion is translucent. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce, and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Add pasta and cook 10 minutes, until pasta is tender. 
  • Add undrained beans and mix well. Add cooked meat. Heat through. 
  • Serve with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Tomorrow: Adding to the wall art

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