I made pasta e fagioli the other night. That’s an Italian soup – for those that have never had it. It’s traditionally a soup of pasta and beans, but I add meat.
This recipe is a combination of three recipes (including one that a restaurant chef wrote down for me on a napkin many years ago). It’s an easy to make soup that is filling and fairly healthy (minus the spicy sausage).
Pasta e Fagioli
Serves 10 as a first course and 6 as a main course
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 lb. lean Hamburger
1 lb. Spicy Italian Sausage
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Carrots, peeled and chopped
3 large Celery stalks, chopped
4 large cloves of Garlic, minced
2 cans of Cannellini Beans (white kidney), rinsed and drained
28 oz. of diced Plum Tomatoes
3/4 jar of Spaghetti Sauce
8 cups of Chicken Broth
Salt and Ground Pepper, to taste
3/4 lb. small Pasta Shells
Grated Parmesan for Finishing
1. In a large skillet, cook the hamburger and spicy sausage until lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
2. In a large soup kettle, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, spaghetti sauce and meat. Add 1 tsp. of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
4. Optional: You can take a ladle or two of beans and vegetables and puree them, returning them to the pot. This gives the soup more body. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
5. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, stirring well. Cook according to the directions for al dente. Drain the pasta.
6. Add the pasta to the soup and simmer for 5 more minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and fresh ground pepper. Optional: top with a swirl of olive oil.
- When I make this for our family of four, I don’t add the pasta to the soup. I ladle pasta shells into the serving bowls, then top with the soup. Because this recipe makes two plus meals for us, I store the leftover pasta and soup in separate containers. This way the pasta shells don’t expand and absorb so much of the soup liquid. It’s just my preference, but is a bit more work.
- I like using Trader Joe’s Italian spicy sausage in this soup. In fact, it’s packaged and sold in one pound — and you can also buy one pound of very lean hamburger while you’re at TJs.
- I really don’t like to chop onions (even with my onion goggles)! If I’m at Trader Joe’s and know I’m going to make this soup within a couple of days, I pick up the 10 oz. bag of chopped Onion (and I use the whole bag) in place of 1 onion.