I don’t know about you, but soup is one of those easy recipes that I keep on repeat. Pasta e Fagioli to be exact is a family favorite that keeps my family happy, healthy, and cozy during the chilly months. Let’s take a look at how easy you can pull this recipe together.
This recipe is quick and easy. The base of the soup can be prepped in the morning, setting the foundation for you to have dinner on the table in 10 minutes – literally. Who’s arguing with that on a busy weeknight. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, it tastes even better for lunch the next day.
There’s nothing quite like a bowl of soup to keep you warm and satisfied, but there are other great benefits too. Incorporating them as part of a healthy lifestyle is easy and provides plenty of nutritious value. Check out four healthy reasons to grab your spoons here.
Lets Talk soup Ingredients
Let’s start by talking about ingredients. They are not all created equal. Vegetables and herbs should be as fresh as possible, meats selected according to their preparations, and cheeses should always be freshly grated. Grating the cheese is a fantastic activity for one of the children. My mom let us grate the cheese, and it was not only fun but a bonding experience shared with her in the kitchen. As the room filled with aromatics that are unexplainable, we laughed (sometimes cried) and shared stories about our day. That’s right, no social media, no facetime, and children were working alongside their parents — A sentiment that desperately needs revitalization.
Where it all begins
So, back to the ingredients; The grocery store is where it all begins — forging for the freshest ingredients at your favorite markets. I do it daily, grabbing elements from more than one source. I head to my garden when we are in growing season here in New York, or my local market for fresh vegetables and herbs, the best bakery (St. Roccos in Glen Cove) for fresh Italian bread, and the town butcher for my meats. I know it is convenient to do your shopping once a week and all in one spot, but that’s just not going to cut it if you want to impress with your meals. Now for the staple, household needs like paper towels and toilet paper, I agree, shopping once a week (or never) is more than enough. But when it comes to shopping for what nourishes your family’s bodies, learn to love the grocery stores and take the time to do it – it does make a difference. Plus, I don’t know what I want to eat on Thursday when I am doing my weekly shopping on Sunday — Do you?
Where to find the best soup ingredients
Get recommendations from the locals on where to shop for the freshest ingredients. Map out your trip and hit the furthest spot first, making your way back towards home. I make my run as soon as I drop my daughter at school — it takes about 20 minutes (some days I’m still in my PJs). At first, it will seem time-consuming – finding the stores, mapping out the route, and spending time exploring each store’s products. Once you get that down, your trips will become part of your morning routine — Done before you had time to think about it.
A traditional soup recipe that’s easy to put together
Many of the meals I share can be prepped in the morning and cooked or heated right before serving. I love to cook in the morning, so I don’t have to think about it as my day gets hectic during the late afternoon hours. I like to plan my meals the night before – taking inventory of the staple ingredients I keep in the pantry and writing a list of what I need for my morning run.
Today I am sharing one of my fall favorites– a classic, comforting Italian recipe, Pasta e Fagiolo. It is easy to pull together and so delicious. The best part is, it is all in one pot, so clean up is a breeze — Who’s arguing with that on a busy weeknight! Pasta e Fagioli recipes vary, based on the region or town of preparation. The only exact ingredients being pasta and beans, which is literally what the name translates. Some bases are soupier, while others have a thicker consistency. In Bari, a southern region in Italy, this dish is prepared with a heartier base, laced with pancetta, and different shapes of small pasta. Have you tried Pancetta in your Pasta Fagioli? If you haven’t, you should. It is a comforting layer of flavor that will have you craving more.
Great soup begins with the base
The beginning of any great soup is the transparent flavors that create the base. This layering of flavors helps build the foundation, but the perfection is in the preparation. Let me share a little family secret with you when preparing the base for Pasta e Fagioli. It’s simple, the little secrets usually are – pureeing the beans and adding grated cheese – Thats it! These two steps take literally a combined total of 5 seconds, but make all the difference in your end product. This little trick of pureeing ingredients has carried over into so many recipes for me. When my children were little and I couldn’t get them to eat their veggies, So, I would puree all kinds of goodness into their soups, sauces and even some baked good. They never even noticed ; )
Before you begin your soup
You can substitute the ditalini pasta for any small pasta, such as tubettini, elbow macaroni, or small shells (use what you have on hand). If you have a gluten sensitivity, use your favorite gluten-free pasta here. My vegetarian friends can omit the pancetta and opt for vegetable broth. Here are a few substitutes for our meat lovers – the pancetta can be swapped out for thick cuts of bacon, hot Italian sausage, or if you don’t like the heat, use sweet Italian sausage. Read the recipe from beginning to end, so you are familiar with the process and can envision your process. Next, ALWAYS Mise en place (MEEZ ahn plahs) – A french term for having all of your ingredients prepped before you begin. That means peeled, chopped, measured, etc. — Have it All ready to go. Following all of these steps will make the process Simple. Fast. Smooth. Delicious!
Dinner time can be easy – I promise
I prepare the base in the morning and then fifteen minutes before we are ready to sit for dinner, I bring the soup up to a boil and throw in the pasta. Cook for approximately 12 minutes (adjust time according to the pasta you select), garnish and serve immediately. If you are lucky to have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch – pack it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When reheating the next day, add some chicken stock to loosen the base back into a soup-like consistency.
What meals do you crave as the seasons change from Summer to Fall? Have you tried this recipe? we would love to hear what you think. Share your pics with us by tagging us #EdenInspiredHomes
Pasta e Fagioli
A classic Italian recipe that is quick and easy to prepare
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. extra for drizzling
- 2 - 15 oz cans cannellini beans. rinsed
- 1 cup of water
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk
- 3 oz pancetta chopped fine
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 16 oz can Italian herb tomato paste
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional but recommended
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated, plus extra for serving
- 1/2 cup fresh basil finely chopped
- 1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper. Cook approximately 10 minutes until vegetables are soft and onions are transparent.
- 2. Puree 15oz can of cannellini beans and 1 cup of water in the food processor. set aside
- 3. Add tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using). Cook until fragrant about another 2 minutes. Stir in broth, the other 15oz can of cannellini beans, and the cannellini bean puree.
- 4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, allowing all ingredients to meld.
- 5. increase heat and return to a boil - add pasta of choice. Cook for approximately 12 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese and chopped basil. Ladle into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!