Updated: Mar 24, 2020
On cold dreary days, I consider soup a mandatory meal. There is nothing better to warm a cold body than a warm and hearty soup. Pasta e Fagioli (or pasta fazool and I've pronounced it since childhood) is my go to cold day soup. It has pasta, beans, veggies, and a hint of tomato flavor. Pair it with a side of bread and you are in for the perfect winter treat.
I have no grand story about my inspirations to make this soup. No funny anecdotes or memories. It is just a good solid fill your belly and warm you soul soup. Recently I made this soup on a cold Saturday where it was on and off snowing. I ran out to Trader Joe's and gathered what I needed, dreaming of a warm bowl of soup. It was the perfect day to be making the soup and I enjoyed two big bowls of it with bread. It is super easy to make. If you can cut vegetables, turn on your stove, and read this recipe you can make this soup.
I've taken some liberties with my Pasta e Fagioli recipe because I love to shake things up in the kitchen. In its most classic form, the soup has pancetta and tiny ditalini pasta along with beans and veggies. I have nothing but nostalgic love for this version, except I don't love pancetta. So I tossed in some bacon as its replacement as well as used some orecchiette pasta for a greater pasta texture. In the spirit of being "rustic" I also left my veggies in roughly chopped state instead of making them little uniform cubes. Honestly it cuts down on prep time for the soup as well as gives the soup a heartier feel.
This recipe makes approximately 6 servings.
6 slices of bacon
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 carrots, chopped coarsely
5 celery ribs, chopped coarsely
1 can (15oz) cannellini beans (aka white beans)
1 can (15oz) crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
4 cups chicken broth (I buy mine from the grocery store to save time, but if you prefer homemade chicken broth, go right ahead and use it).
1 cup water
1/2 box orecchiette pasta (although if you want a more classic soup use ditalini pasta)
Grated cheese for garnish
1. In a dutch oven or in a large soup pot, cook bacon slices over a medium heat. Remove bacon when cooked and set aside. Chop the bacon roughly, you will add it to the soup later. Keep bacon grease in the pot as you will need it to cook veggies
2. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 or 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook until fragrant. Your kitchen will smell amazing!
3. Stir carrots and celery into the garlic and onions and let cook over a medium heat for a minute or two. The carrots and celery will not soften in this time, but don't worry they have plenty of time to soften in the broth.
4. Add in beans, crushed tomatoes, all seasonings, chicken broth, and water. Stir well and bring soup to a boil over a high heat. This step will take a while, I usually wash my cutting board and clean my counter top while waiting for the soup to come to a boil. Once soup comes to a boil, lower heat to low, cover soup, and let simmer for 15 mins.
5. Remove lid, stir and taste for salt! If the soup needs more, add more, if its too salty add half a cup of water and taste again.
6. Add chopped bacon into the pot.
7. Increase heat to medium and add dry pasta in. Let pasta simmer in the soup uncovered for 15 minutes.
8. Remove bay leaves and ladle soup into bowls. Top with grated cheese if you'd like and enjoy!
-Serve in bowls with slices of warm bread or with warm dinner rolls.
-Serve with a salad for a soup and salad lunch/dinner.