Betcha my grams never knew what a vegan wizard she was, whipping up delicious, piping hot, pasta fagioli whenever we had a snow day. But oh Mama Mary (and my mama after her, and my hubby’s mama with a Spanish flare), she managed to fill our tummies and warm us up for something that only costs pennies and cooks in about 30 minutes. The splendor and the glory of canned beans my friends!!
You can also add other veggies to this recipe but I usually just toss in what’s lying around, which in the winter is typically canned goods like mushrooms. You don’t want to add potatoes because you’ll add pasta. Or maybe you are carbing up for a marathon – then potato away!
Pasta Fagioli (often pronounced pasta fa-zool)
Serves about 6
2 14oz cans small white beans (cannellini is a great choice)
2 14oz cans stewed tomatoes
approx 28oz of water
3 TB EVOO
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp of the following: crushed bay leaves, parsley, basil
1/2 tsp of the following: oregano, rosemary, sea salt
2 vegan bullion (optional)
8 oz of small pasta of your choosing
1. In a medium stock pot, add EVOO and saute onions and celery over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add carrots and saute for about a minute.
2. Add juice of stewed tomatoes and a bit of water to cover the bottom of the pot. Stir to keep the veggies from browning and the juice from splattering back in your face. Carefully squish tomatoes in your hand to break them up. BE CAREFUL – they may pop and squirt seeds! Just wear an apron and try to do it over the pot itself.
3. Rinse the beans well and add to pot. Add two cans worth of water. Add all the spices. Stir well and bring to boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the small is wafting through your house.
There are two schools of thought on the pasta. Team Old Skool is typically in favor of boiling the pasta until al dente (meaning with a bit of a bite, literally translated to the teeth) and adding to the individual bowl per person. Team Lazypants has the pasta cook right in the broth of the soup. Old Skool has its merits – personalized bean-to-pasta ratio AND it keeps better in the fridge without the pasta. It has its setbacks – you’ll have to use (and clean!) another pot. However, there is a slightly more starchy taste to the Team Lazypants method, because you never rinse the pasta before adding it to your dish.
Old Skool Step 4. In a separate pot, boil water to cook small pasta. Cook, drain, rinse and add to the bean soup one bowl at a time.
Lazypants Step 4. After the 15 minutes of simmering has passed, give soup a good stir and add another 14 oz of water. Bring to boil and add pasta. After about 7 minutes check to see how your pasta is. You want it to be cooked but not soft.