Pasta e Fagioli (Soup with Pasta, Beans, and Vegetables)
This traditional Italian soup is very hearty and satisfying, loaded with pasta, beans, and vegetables. You can use whatever vegetables you'd like, or try red beans instead of white. Small pasta shapes such as ditalini or macaroni work well in this soup.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
2 fresh sprigs rosemary
1 fresh sprig thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt and pepper
2 -15 ounce cans cannellini (white) beans
1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
6 ounces ditalini or other small pasta
Grated Parmesan or Romano for serving
- Heat a stock pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Add the beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high.
- Bring soup to a rapid boil and add the pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. The rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks—just remove the stems and bay leaf from soup after turning off heat.
- Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Serve in deep soup bowls with cheese on top.