pasta e fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli, or Pasta and Bean Soup, is a favorite family dinner. It’s hearty and flavorful and warms you up on a cool day. Even my usually picky 2 year old gobbled it up. I made it vegetarian this time, as I was bringing it to vegetarian friends and didn’t miss the meat much at all. The traditional version has pancetta, which adds a ton of flavor and depth, and does not always have the carrots and celery that I have added here. If you’re not vegetarian, try the pancetta!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 cup small
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, beans, and herbs. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Puree 1 cup of the bean mixture that has been cooled for at least 5 minutes in a blender until smooth. Before putting the puree back into the soup, add the pasta and boil with the lid on until it is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Return the puree to the remaining soup in the saucepan and stir well. Remove the herbs. Season the soup with ground black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with some Parmesan and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil just before serving.

Non-Vegtarian variations
Add 3 oz. chopped pancetta with the onions and garlic
Substitute chicken broth for the vegetable broth