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 Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6 Whole Garlic Cloves

1 Medium Onion- Chopped

¼ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

3 Celery Stalks- Chopped

2 Small Carrots – Peeled and Diced

1 28 oz. Can Whole Tomatoes – Pureed

4 15 oz Cans – Cannellini Beans

8 Basil Leaves – Chopped

3 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley- Chopped

1 tsp. Oregano

2 tsp. Salt

½ tsp. Black Pepper

2 – Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano Ends

3 Cups – Low Sodium Chicken Broth

1 lb. Ditalini Pasta

To a soup pot add the olive oil and the garlic and cook on low heat. Cook the garlic until it is fork tender and remove it from the pan. Mash it up with a fork and reserve for later. Add the onions to the pot along with the red pepper flakes and sauté for about six minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the celery and carrots to the pot and cook for another five minutes. Add the garlic back to the pan. Next add the tomatoes. Mix well.  Drain two of the cans of beans and keep the other two 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. If you do not know what these are, they are basically saved ends of the cheese that I keep in the freezer to season my soups and sauces.  If you do not have the ends you can add some grated cheese to the soup.  Simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer for at least another 25 minutes on low. 

While the soup is cooking, boil your water and salt it. Add the ditalini and drain once cooked. 

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 extra-virgin olive oil.


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