Another cold, rainy day; another soup! Tonight, I had a craving for one of my favorites, Pasta e Fagioli (or if you’re from Naples, Pasta Fazool). Thick, hearty, satisfying, this soup is easily a meal by itself. There are hundreds of different regional versions in Italy – here is mine.
Pasta e Fagioli
1 stalk celery
4 slices bacon
2 sprigs of fresh sage
4 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 28 oz. can San Marzano whole tomatoes
6-8 cups chicken stock
salt to taste
Pasta (one handful per person). I like to use campanelle or ditalini, but any short pasta will work – use your favorite!
- Heat about 2 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy soup pan
- Finely chop onions, celery and carrot and saute in oil for about 5-7 minutes, till onions are translucent. Add whole slices of bacon and cook on medium for 2-3 minutes.
- Crush tomatoes in their juice with your hands (or you can chop with a knife).
- Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and stock to pot. Season with salt and simmer slowly for about an hour.
- Remove the bacon and sage and discard. Take about 1/2 of the beans and pass through a food mill, then return to soup. If you don’t have a food mill, you can use a food processor, but a food mill will remove the tough skins of the beans.
- If you are serving all of the soup, add pasta to the soup and cook till done (you may need to add some water) If you are serving only one or two people, cook the pasta separately, then add to individual bowls of soup. Drizle bowls of soup with a bit of good quality olive oil and serve.
If you haven’t added all of the pasta, this soup freezes very well. If you add the pasta, you will want to serve it right away since the pasta will continue cooking and get mushy if you leave it in the soup too long.