Pasta e Fagioli
Thursday November 4, 2010
Today I have a cold, and having finished off the last of my yellow split pea and ham soup yesterday, I'm craving another bowl of something hot and comforting on this dreary day. What I wish I had is a bowl of pasta e fagioli, a rustic soup I made last week.
Pasta e fagioli is a traditional Italian "peasant" soup made with cheaply available pasta and beans, in addition to other Italian staples such as olive oil, garlic, onion, tomatoes and herbs. The traditional bean of choice is a cannellini (like a white kidney bean) and the pasta can be any small cut pasta. While pasta e fagioli began as a meatless dish, today it often includes a little Italian meat such as prosciutto or panchetta. For this recipe, I started my pasta and bean soup off with two hot Italian sausages. I get my sausage these days from an awesome Italian Market in Albany, NY called Cardona's and they are incredible. If you ever visit New York's capitol region, Cardona's is well worth the visit as their deli creations are delicious (www.cardonasmarket.com).
The beauty of this soup is that it only take about 30 minutes from start to finish, so it's a great weekday option, but it tastes like it has been simmering away all day. The soup gets great richness from the chicken stock and thickens from the starch of the pasta and by mushing some of the beans. Here's how I made mine.
Pasta e Fagioli
2 links of hot Italian sausage, casing removed and rough chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
1 rib celery, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
8 artichoke quarters, from a can or jar, rough chop
8-10 sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil, chopped
1 (32 oz) box of good chicken stock
32 oz water
2 cans cannellini beans
1/2 pound small bow-tie (or other small) pasta
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
Salt and pepper
Over a medium heat, heat a little olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot. Add the chopped sausage and begin to brown the meat. In the meantime prepare all of your veggies. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper and cook until softened. Add the garlic, artichoke, sundried tomatoes, herbs and chili flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes and add the box of chicken stock. Fill the empty box with water and add that to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer and add the pasta and 1 can of the beans. Put the other can of beans in a bowl and with the back of a wooden spoon, smash some of the beans, and add to the pot. Stir occasionally and cook until the pasta is al dente, meaning it still has some bite. Add some fresh herbs such as parsley or chives and ladle into soup bowls. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
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About Me...The Wicked Newfoundlander
I'm originally from Newfoundland, Canada, and very proud of it! I moved to upstate New York in 2007, and I spend much of my time working and playing throughout New England. Besides my wife, our dog and hockey, I'm passionate about food. I love to cook and create great tasting food. I also love tasting and critiquing food, and comparing regional cuisine (notably Newfoundland and New England dishes).