Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pasta Fagioli

Today I had all these great plans to make a recipe that I was super excited about, until I noticed it requires an overnight step.  Damn.  Don't worry - you will see this recipe soon.  So for today, I had to change courses.  Kenzie helped me come up with a new idea: a soup called pasta fagioli.  Literally it means pasta and beans in Italian, so what is not to love there?!

Dad used to make this soup when we were kids, and it's amazing.  But beware: it is one of those recipes that is very different based on whose recipe you use; I often order it when I am at an Italian restaurant, and I get mad when it has weird things like sausage or ground beef in it (okay those things make me mad no matter what).  The pasta fagioli Dad used to make had ditalini pasta, cannellini beans, and onions in a delicious garlicky tomato broth, and that was it.  I wanted to be picky with my recipe, and when I found one from Skinny Taste, it passed my close inspection.  It did add chopped carrot and celery, which as far as I can remember Dad did not, but I think that they would be a welcome addition.  What really made me decide to try out this recipe in particular was all the spices: whole tablespoons of parsley and basil flakes, plus a teaspoon of oregano.  I knew it was going to be good.

This is a pretty fast soup to make.  You just saute the onions and garlic, and basically then add everything else and simmer.  The recipe says you can puree the beans to hide them from picky eaters, but I wanted my beans to stay whole.  It simmers for 20 minutes once you bring it to a boil, so I even had time to start my favorite cheddar cheese bread while it was cooking.  I like dinners that have a little down time built in. 

I doubled the recipe and ended up using little elbows instead of ditalini, which I was sad about but it was all my grocery store had.  And I ended up using a whole pound of the pasta, rather than the 12 ounces that doubling it would require.  Other than that, I stuck to the recipe, and it was a good plan.  The soup is very hearty, healthy (less than 260 calories for 2 cups!!), and very delicious.  A sprinkling of parmesan on the top just brings out the wonderfulness of the soup.  It was very popular with everyone here, and we had quite a housefull tonight.  I will be happy to have it for lunch this week.

I spent this whole football-y day in the kitchen making this soup, the aforementioned cheese bread, and two other recipes as well.  You will have to wait for those though; I am trying to be like a true food blogger and only post one recipe at a time.  Trust me: they're worth waiting for.


pasta fagioli
from Skinny Taste

Servings: 5 • Serving Size: about 2 cups • Old Points: 5 pts • Points+: 6 pts
Calories: 254.5 • Fat: 3.4 g • Protein: 10.3 g • Carb: 47.5 g • Fiber: 6.8 g

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1 large bay leaf
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
2 (14 oz. each) cans fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz dry ditalini pasta or other small pasta
grated parmesan cheese for topping (optional)


1) In a deep pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat.
2)  The can of beans with one can water in electric blender until almost smooth.

3) Add blended beans to pan then add the can of tomato sauce, celery, carrots, chicken broth, basil, bay leaf, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Add1 cup water and bring to slow boil. Let simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook uncovered until pasta is al dente, according to pasta directions.

4) Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated cheese (extra).

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