a recipe: pasta e fagioli

It’s soup season, people, even in Florida. The proof is that I’m home with a cold-ridden baby today. Charlie slept terribly last night. He usually wakes up once at night, nurses, and goes right back down. But last night he woke up repeatedly and wouldn’t go back to sleep until I finally pulled him out of his bassinet and held him for half the night. He has a snuffly little nose and cough (daycare baby!) which breaks my heart. So we took a rain check on school and daycare to make sure he could take lots of long, snuggly mama naps. It just seemed like the kind of gloomy January day for a big vat of soup to bubble on the stove until dinner. It’s been raining off and on, baby has a cold and the only time I’m leaving the house is if I get ambitious enough for a jog around the neighborhood after Mike gets home (unlikely). Soup weather.

I threw this together this morning while Charlie was napping which tells you how easy it is. Cozy, hearty soups like this one are just better if you let the flavors meld together as long as you can before digging in. It would be a great Sunday soup with a big loaf of crusty bread on the side. We started making this soup a couple years ago after taking a cooking class that Mike’s parents got us for Christmas. It’s sooo good and the leftovers are amazing for lunches.

Our favorite thing that we learned in that class was the power of Mirepoix. Have you ever tried it? We make ours by blending rough chopped onions, celery and carrots in a food processor. We make a big batch and freeze it in ice cube trays to pop out and throw into soups, gravy, and sauces. You can use it as a thickener and just to add another layer of flavor to your dish. Some people just chop it up really fine, but I think the food processor is more effective. Another option is to cook it down in olive oil before freezing, but we freeze it raw and cook it into whatever we’re making.

Another thing about this soup though before we dive in. I left the pasta out because we’ve gone low carb for January (worst decision ever). More on that later. This is one recipe that I actually think is just as good without the pasta, but it’s chef’s choice here.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mirepoix (recipe here)
  • 3 15oz cans cannellini beans – don’t drain!
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomato
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Small Pasta – Ditalini or orzo are good options (optional)

Here’s what to do

Sauté garlic in butter and olive oil until golden. Add beans (including their sauce), tomato, stock, mirepoix and all remaining ingredients except for pasta. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let simmer for as long as you can, but at the very least for 35 minutes. Place the cooked al dente pasta (if using) in serving bowls and ladle hot soup on top. Garnish with flakes of parmesan cheese if you have it laying around.

Let me know if you try it! It’s a favorite at the Metroka house!