After my sinfully delicious, creamy, cheesy pasta indulgence yesterday I figured something something lighter was in order. And I think soup fits the bill perfectly. Light but filling and great for the cooler fall weather (ok in actuality it has been warmer here and not really ‘cool,’ considering I have still been getting away with wearing shorts).
Pasta fagioli is another Italian classic. And while it is a rather simple and basic soup, it is full of flavor. I loved how quickly this soup came together and how all the ingredients were pantry staples (perfect for say, when you forgot to plan dinner or when you are stranded at home in the dead of winter).
Notes: The original recipe had pancetta and used chicken broth. I opted to go vegetarian and omit the pancetta and substitute vegetable stock. I am so happy with this decision and how the soup turned out! I have been wanting to try and incorporate more vegetarian meals into mine and Eric’s diet but was worried about the complaints from the anti-vegetarian Eric. But good news we were both completely satisfied with our vegetarian soup, salad, and hot, crusty bread. Yay!
Pasta e Fagioli
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Serves: 6
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
2 (14.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup elbow macaroni or small shell pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until the onion is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes more. Add the stock, beans, and herbs. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Puree 1 cup of the bean mixture in a blender until smooth*. Before putting the puree back into the soup, add the macaroni and boil with the lid on until it is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Return the puree to the remaining soup in the saucepan and stir well. Remove and discard bay leaf.
Season the soup with black pepper and salt. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese just before serving.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
adapted from “Giada’s Family Dinner” by Giada De Laurentiis
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