Pasta Fagioli, “beans and macaroni” is a dish that I hold dear to my heart. As a kid my grandparents on both sides made this dish often. It was always an easy go to meal, often served with a salad and a frittata of some sort. I can remember my grandfather using the “leftover” pasta for this dish, meaning whatever he had left in the pantry he would use. So many different pasta shapes would often appear in my bowl all at once. Real life “Cucina Povera.” because God forbid there was waste. We would never call this Pasta Fagioli. We called it “Pasta Fazool”, Neapolitan dialect for pasta e fasule. But whatever you call it, this dish is delicious and I am so happy to share it with you!
Pasta Fagioli Serves 8
½ Cup Olive Oil
6 Garlic Cloves, Whole
¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 Medium Onion (about 5 Ounces), chopped
3 Celery Stalks (about 4½ Ounces), chopped
2 Small Carrots (about 4 Ounces), peeled and diced
1 (28 Ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes, puréed
4 (15 Ounce) Cans Cannellini Beans
8 Basil Leaves, Chopped
3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1½ Teaspoons Salt
½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Ends (Optional)
3 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Pound Pasta. I use the Mista or Ditalini.
Grated Pecorino Romano for Garnish
In a soup pot, add the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook on low heat until the garlic is fork tender then remove it from the pot. Mash it up with a fork and reserve for later.
Add the onions to the pot and sauté for about 6 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add the celery and carrots to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the garlic back to the pan. Next add the tomatoes. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes.
Drain 2 of the cans of beans and keep the other 2 cans in their juices. Add all the beans to the pot.
Season with the basil, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Then add the ends of the Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and simmer on low for at least another 25 to 30 minutes. At this point, check your seasoning.
While the soup is cooking, boil your water and salt it. Cook the pasta and drain.
To serve, add the pasta to a bowl and top with the bean soup.
I also like to sprinkle some extra grated cheese on top as well as a drizzle of olive oil.