Sunday, September 27, 2009

Recipe #8: Pasta e Fagioli

When I was a kid, my mom made this soup once, and I remember going with her and my sister to bring it over to my great grandfather's for him to try. I don't remember his reaction, or whether he liked it, but I remember that whenever that was -- I'll guess about 15 years ago, maybe -- it was the best soup I'd ever had. It wasn't complicated and it wasn't expensive to make. It was basically a mixture of stuff anyone would already have in their pantry. A few weeks ago, I asked my mom about it, and if she remembered how to make it. To my surprise, she still had the recipe. When she sent it to me, I expected long detailed instructions, but after receiving a list of ingredients and two basic instructions, I called her to see if maybe she forgot part o the recipe. She told me she had gotten it from a chef on TV and just had a pen to write down the ingredients. Well, I've added a couple things of my own and I think I've gotten a pretty good soup. One item of note: It drives me absolutely crazy when I have seen repros of this recipe over the years and they include meat. Even Olive Garden's version contains meat. Traditional Pasta e Fagioli (which our family pronounces pasta fa-zool) doesn't have any meat in it, it has beans and tomatoes, because they were cheap "peasant foods." There was no meat in the real thing, so in mine still there shall be no meat! :) Please note -- wherever you see a (*) next to an ingredient or tool, there is a comment about it below the recipe. Enjoy!

Pasta e Fagioli

Cook time: 30-35 minutes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves of garlic*
1 15-ounce can Great Northern Beans*
dash thyme
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
8-10 fresh basil leaves (4 whole and 4 ripped or chopped)
2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups dry pasta*
4 tablespoons tomato paste

Large pot
Mixing spoon

Heat olive oil and garlic in pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add can of beans and liquid and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in tomato pasta, mix to combine. Add four chopped/ripped basil leaves, thyme and parmesan cheese, mix to combine. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add pasta, allow to cook for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Serve as is or garnished with a basil leave and topped with parmesan cheese and olive oil.

-Garlic: I don't usually use fresh garlic when I cook, unless it's going to be almost raw in the dish. What I use instead is a huge jar of Spice World minced garlic. It saves me the time of having to chop (and have my hands smell like) garlic for any given recipe. For this recipe, if you use the jarred garlic, use two tablespoons.

-Beans: If you can't find "Great Northern Beans," you can use cannellini beans. Just remember not to rinse them off or discard the liquid in the can. Adding the beans AND the liquid gives the broth a good amount of starch.

-Pasta: I used small shells for my soup, but any tiny pasta would work. Don't use a large pasta, or it will absorb a lot of space and you'll end up with more pasta than broth. Try a small variety or Barilla Picollini for tiny versions of big pasta!


Deidra said...

Amy I just love your blog. I've been looking for soup recipes and this is perfect. You have great suggestions!

Madame Menu said...

Aww, thanks Deidra! :)

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

That looks so good!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! By the way...what is Veet??

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

That looks so good. When are you going to come over and make that for me?? Thanks for stopping by, your comment made me spit out my diet coke it was that funny!!

Kevin said...

That bean and pasta soup looks good!

Deidra said...

I made this tonight and it was so delicious, perfect for a rainy cool night!! We need new recipes Amy!!!