As a young girl, I remember separating beans from dishes my aunt cooked for us. I did not like the texture nor the taste of any bean. There was one dish in particular that was full of beans (Mujadara). Let me tell you, I went to bed hungry every time she made it. In the Middle Eastern cuisine, there are numerous dishes with beans as the main ingredient. Soups, rice dishes, breakfast entrees, it seemed like half of our meals consisted of beans. Luckily for me, I began to slowly enjoy all beans more as I got older. As I matured, so did my taste buds.
Today, I love adding beans to many dishes I make especially if I’m not in the mood for meat. Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants which make them resistible to me! Since the temperatures dropped drastically in the last couple days, I’ve been in the mood for soup. I love heartwarming hearty soups that are rich in nutrients. Of course, they usually consist of beans and are made from scratch. However, I wanted something quick and easy this week to add as a side dish to dinner. That’s when I decided that Paste e Fagioli, or pasta and bean soup, would be perfect.
This soup doesn’t require much work after a few things of chopping and mixing. Let it boil and simmer to thicken, and you have yourself a bowl of wonderful. Top it off with fresh grated parmesan cheese and parsley, and enjoy it with french bread. It’ll warm you up and make your insides happy, promise.
- 2 Strips bacon, diced
- 1 Medium size onion, chopped
- 2 Carrots, diced
- 2 Stalk of celery, chopped
- 3 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 t Dried rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 T Tomato sauce or 2 t tomato paste
- 1 can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 cups Reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup Ditalini or other short pasta
- Freshly grated parmesan, for garnish
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
- French baguette, as a side
- Brown bacon over medium heat in a large pot for about 8-10 minutes.
- Add onion, carrots, celery and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic, dry rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in tomato sauce or paste, beans, red pepper flakes, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until soup has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Add pasta to the pot and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
- Let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh parmesan and parsley. Enjoy with a side of toasted french baguette.
- This dish isn't vegetarian but easily can be. Omit the bacon and sauté the vegetables in olive oil. Substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth. Add salt.