We're actually getting some winter rains here in California, so I've switched our dinners back from salads to soups. When it's raining, soup is my preferred dinner. This Italian pasta e fagioli (fah-zhool) is a creamy blended version of the more traditional chunky vegetarian soup.
I found this recipe in a newspaper insert, it's an adapted recipe from Maggie Stuckey's cook book entitled Soup Night. Great title. Of course, I adapted it further. Traditionally, this soup is made with cannellini beans and tomato paste, but Maggie's recipe uses pinto beans and no tomato. I think you could use cannellini beans and it would be just as good. By using canned beans, I lowered the cooking time from 2 hours to less than 30 minutes. I also didn't use the parmesan rind, in order to make it vegan.
After cooking and blending this soup, it's topped with pasta. Digitalini, a straight tubular pasta, is traditional but I'm not a big fan of white flour pastas. I had this wonderful, gluten free, quinoa brown rice penne pasta by TruRoots that I cut up to look like digitalini. A little extra step in the recipe but a much healthier choice.
The final topper is a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Don't skip this step, it really makes a difference. You could also add a little chopped fresh parsley or basil if you have it.
Italian Bean and Pasta Soup
Adapted from a recipe by Maggie Stuckey
Makes 4 large servings Use organic ingredients whenever possible
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
2 small yellow onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium carrot, chopped
2 celery stalk, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 15oz cans of pinto beans (or cannellini beans)
2 cups broth (I used Imagine no chicken broth)
1 cup dry whole grain penne pasta, cooked and tossed with olive oil.
Chopped fresh parsley or basil for garnish (optional)
Heat the 2T olive oil in a large pot over a medium low heat.
Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add carrot, celery, garlic, parsley and pepper.
Saute for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans with their liquid plus 2 cups broth and the rest of the salt.
Turn heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes, covered.
Let cool for 15 minutes.
Chop the penne pasta into small pieces.
Puree the soup in a food processor or blender, in 2 batches.
Return to the pot and warm over a medium low heat.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some pasta.
Drizzle the top with some olive oil, sprinkle with parsley and serve.