Pasta e Fagioli – No Meat or Fuss
What I wouldn’t give for a bowl of this soup right now. My rendition of Pasta e fagioli warms you to the bones. It’s like a little bit of Italy in a bowl.
One year ago, this week in October, we stayed in a resort area with a section of housing that is considered an owners association. Kind of like time shares but they allow us to purchase smaller portions of time to stay when we would like if there’s anything available.
The area where were are staying is tucked into a valley of mountains and right down the road from a ski resort. Obviously its ski season yet, but man is it beautiful back here this time of year. This year we’re just saying from Friday evening to Monday morning, but that’s the perfect amount of time for us. Just enough to get into vacation mode while not becoming complacent with our “working whenever” lifestyle.
Plus, for some reason and as odd as it sounds, I feel like I’m better at blogging while on vacation. I don’t know if it’s because my mind is fresh and full of new ideas of it’s sticky based on the environment. Either way, I’m cool with it, and I’ve grown to enjoy writing on vacation.
Useful Equipment Alert!!!
I highly, highly recommend using a dutch oven. The one that I’ve been using on a weekly basis for the last 4 years is amazing and I’ve had zero issues with it. It’s a Lodge enameled cast iron and I freaking love it. Check it out here: Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Where we are staying this weekend, we are right at the base of a mountain and at the beginning of the tree line. Also, we’re in the think of Fall like I mentioned before, and cold days are easing they’re way in. This morning before I started writing, I stumbled my way past our Diwali lights (HAPPY DIWALI EVERYONE!) and to the electric fireplace in our living room. Needless to say, that’s where I’m sitting while typing this.
The point of my incessant rambling of the cold is tell you how much I am craving my Pasta e Fagioli right now. It’s so warm and yummy and comforting. The flavor is little more bright and acidy than what you find at the most famous Italian chain restaurant, which is the only other place I’ve had it. It’s delicious there, but a little too brothy and greasy. Mine is very rich in tomatoes with some broth to balance it out and help make the dish more soup like.
Must Love Tomatoes
I get that great tomato taste by building my marinara from the ground up with my Quick Robust Tomato Sauce check that out by clicking the name or RIGHT HERE. I’ve never put tomato sauce into a soup before, but I am sure glad I did this time. It’s like they bolster soup, giving it more body than it could ever dream of having on its own.
Also, I made this version with out meat. This also has the soup leaning towards more of an herbaceous and acidic flavors. In lieu of the ground beef or sausage, and to maintain meaty umami, I diced up some crimini mushrooms and sautéed them in olive oil with onions and minced garlic. This gave a great start to the dish, and the aromatic herb blooms beautifully with the mushroom startup.
Pasta in Soup
To finish it off, I went with ditalini pasta, as it seemed to be what was traditionally in Pasta e Fagioli. This pasta (and the beans) are the signature of Pasta e Fagioli. The literal translation is pasta and beans.
Another very important reason I enjoy this dish so much, is that it’s very reminiscent of a soup my late, great grandmother used to make. She made a vegetable beef stew, but finished it with mini pasta shells. She’s the only person in my life I saw put Pasta in a tomato like soup, and everyone I eat a mouthful of this, I’m taken back to her amazing soup. It’s amazing how strongly memories are attached to food.
So please, if your looking for a new soup to try, or maybe this a favorite of yours from “that Italian restaurant” (Olive Garden.) Regardless, Pasta e Fagioli is an hearty, filling and bone warming soup that is bound to please anyone with an appetite.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- About 1 cup shredded carrot (a little more is ok)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped kale, chopped small
- 2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 6 cups Quick Robust Tomato Sauce or jarred tomato sauce + 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 14oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 14oz can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 tsp vinegar type hot sauce (Texas Pete, Franks Red Hot)
- 1 cup cooked small pasta (I used ditalini)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- In a large pot, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom over medium high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, mushrooms and 1 tsp of salt. Saute while stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes, or until onions are translucent and the mushrooms have released some liquid and are half their original size.
- Add in the garlic, kale and oregano. Stir while sauteing for 3-4 minutes or until the garlic is aromatic and the kale’s color starts to deepen.
- Stir in both cans of diced tomatoes with their juice, broth, tomato sauce, both cans of beans, hot sauce and 1 1/2 tsp of black pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, cut the heat back to low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Generally, the longer the better flavor.
- At the end of this cooking time and right before you serve it, stir in the cooked pasta. This keeps the pasta from getting mushy. Serve immediately and piping hot. Top with fresh grated Parmesan.