Oh man, that was terrible. But I had to. I couldn’t help it!
A few weeks ago at work, we were talking about soups, because that’s totally not a weird and random work conversation. Aaaaaanyways, I was specifically asked if I had a good reliable pasta e fagioli recipe, and not only did I have to answer that no, I don’t have a solid go-to, but I also realized I could not remember the last time I even had a good bowl of it! So I got to work looking at various recipes to try to find inspiration for my own.
Pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) is a traditional Italian dish with all sorts of American modifications and variations that have moved away from the original. The traditional Italian version originated, like many old school dishes, as a basic ingredients-hearty recipe that didn’t cost a lot and used basic, on-hand ingredients. Peasant food.
I decided to take my recipe back to the old country, but also to try to lighten it up a bit. Also, you can totally pull this off after work on a weeknight. 45ish minutes total! Whoop! I was completely unsure about how the end result would be, but before I even got to the table I heard my mother in-law exclaim, “this is delicious!” so I’m feeling pretty good about passing this along to you. To my Italianos: how’d I do?? Here you go.
WHAT YOU NEED
* 3 cans cannellini beans
* 1/4C extra virgin olive oil
* 1/2 medium onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 4 slices turkey bacon, diced
* 1t dried rosemary
* 3C chicken broth
* 3C beef broth
* 1C crushed tomatoes
* 1 1/2t kosher salt
* 7oz package of small pasta shells, uncooked
WHAT TO DO
Heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Sauté the onions and the turkey bacon 4-5 minutes, until the onions are softened and beginning to golden. Add the garlic and dried rosemary and cook just a few more minutes – don’t let the garlic burn, though!
Add two of the cans of beans (liquid included) and (you know I’m about to get excited!) get out your immersion blender!! (If you don’t have an immersion blender, simply transfer the sautéed ingredients and beans to a blender or food processor). Puree until mostly smooth – chunks are fine. If using the immersion blender, this will get easier as you puree – because there’s so little liquid in the pot when you start. But just take care and it’ll be beautiful and perfect. Don’t worry!
If you pureed in a separate appliance, return the mixture to the pot.
Add the chicken and beef broth and the crushed tomatoes to the pot. Drain and rinse the last can of beans and add them to the pot as well. Add the kosher salt and stir to combine. Raise the heat and bring the pot to a boil, then add the pasta and cook until al dente.
When the pasta is done cooking, turn off the heat. The pasta will continue to cook in the warm pot and will expand, absorbing the liquid, so if you keep the heat on it will completely overcook and fall apart. Also, if you feel that it gets too thick, just add a little more broth (either) or water to thin it out a bit – all good.
Sprinkle a little Parmesan over the bowl and grab a hunk of fresh, hearty bread and enjoy! My mother in-law does not lie! DE-LICIOUS!