Following up on my Italian Wedding Soup post, here is another simple and delicious recipe for an Italian soup called Pasta e Fagioli. I first tasted this soup after moving to the suburbs in 2005. There was a small Italian restaurant called A’Mangiare which I frequented weekly for four years until they relocated (the restaurant has subsequently closed.) A’Mangiare served amazing soups, most notably, Pasta e Fagioli. For years I tried to replicate A’Mangiare’s version at home but hadn’t gotten it quite right until now.
This is my rendition of A’Mangiare’s Pasta e Fagioli. It is hearty and satisfying from the pasta and beans but each spoonful has subtle hints of bacon and rosemary. After cooking down the onions, pancetta and garlic, I pureed them in a blender with a can of cannelloni beans to create a smooth, creamy and thick soup base.
Pasta e Fagioli
This is a simple, quick and flavorful recipe for Pasta e Fagioli. This soup is the perfect meal (especially served with a piece of warm crusty bread) on a chilly day.
If you prefer a thinner texture, puree less beans and simmer for a shorter amount of time.
If you plan to freeze a portion of the soup, it is best to portion it off before adding the pasta. When you reheat the frozen soup, cook a small portion of pasta in a separate pot and add it to the soup as you reheat it.
Serves 4-6; Prep time 15 minutes; Cook time 20 minutes
- 1 cup (8 ounces) dry ditalini pasta
- 3 – 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 4 ounces (1/4 pound) pancetta or bacon, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth (Swanson’s Natural Goodness 33% less sodium)
- 8 ounces (1 cup) crushed tomatoes (San Marzano preferred (but not pictured above))
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- Fresh parsley, chopped
Parboil the pasta:
- In a medium pot, bring a quart of water to a boil and cook the pasta for half the suggested cooking time, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. (The pasta should be undercooked.)
Prepare the soup base:
- In a large pot heated over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, onions and pancetta. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender (or small food processor) with half of the beans. Add 1/2 cup water and puree until smooth. Add the puree back to the large pot.
- Add the broth, remaining beans, tomatoes, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer uncovered for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig and bay leaf and discard.
- Add the parboiled pasta to the soup and continue to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. (The pasta will absorb some of the liquid, so add water or more chicken broth, as needed/desired.)
- Season with salt and pepper, as needed. (I didn’t need to add salt.)
Serving the soup:
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with parsley and grated cheese, if desired.