Pasta e Fagioli

Last weekend, Howard read about winter farmers’ markets in the area. For six weeks, from January 17 through February 27, on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Russell’s Garden Center in Wayland is hosting a Winter Farmers’ Market. Yesterday, we went to check it out. It was fabulous. There were several vendors offering fresh vegetables. Given that it is January, that means salad greens, bitter greens, and stored root vegetables. There were other vendors selling cheese, meat, eggs, honey, bread and other local products like root beer, granola, and preserves. There were at least 15 different vendors. They were scattered throughout the greenhouses, so it was hard to count. The place was crowded with enthusiastic customers. It was exciting to discover this winter shopping option. We’ll be back!

With the refrigerator was empty of leftovers, so I decided to make a hearty soup for lunches during the upcoming week. I still had some not-so-good ribs from earlier in the week, so, initially, I planned to make a soup that would invite the addition of the leftover rib meat. I settled on a pasta e fagioli, where the meat would stand in for the chicken and ham. In the end, we finished the ribs for lunch yesterday, so I ended up with a vegetarian soup instead.

Pasta e Fagioli (Bean and Pasta Soup)
Serves 8 – 10
(Adapted from Italian Classics in One Pot by Anna Teresa Callen)

1 lb dried beans (an assortment of red and white beans)
3 qts. water
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried sage
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp black pepper
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
¾ cup pastina (small soup pasta)
Generous handful of Italian parsley, chopped

The beans need to be soaked before starting the soup. You have two choices:

  1. Soak the beans overnight (at least 8 hours). I prefer to use boiling, rather than room temperature, water for soaking.
  2. Place the beans in a large pot. Cover with water by a few inches. Bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat down, and simmer for 1 hour. The beans will not be cooked, they will be “quick-soaked”.

Drain and rinse the soaked beans.

Place the soaked beans in a large soup pot. Add 3 quarts of water, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beans are softened, but not completely tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add the tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Simmer until the beans are tender, another 30 to 45 minutes.

Turn up the heat to medium, add the pasta, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
Discard the bay leaves, and stir in the parsley.


Posted on 24 January 2010, in General and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. these pics are great!!! :)

    and i like the stars in the soup. but you are supposed to use tubini!!! the short tubes.

    • Come on, Lauren, I know you believe in poetic license when cooking.  Actually, the recipe I used called for pastini (the little stars), NOT the little tubes.  

      I’m glad you like the pictures this time.  Same camera and same photographer.  :)

  2. Pastini is not the stars!!!! my mama used to make Pastena for us as kids–a little broth some butter, yum. . it is little bits. it was not stars no matter what barilla says. hrrmmph

    I also like acini de pepe big time.

    May be same camera, same photographer but it is better!!! Clear white light. Nice angles.

    • My box of stars (Prince brand) was labeled pastina. According to the internet, pastine are little pasta, in any shape. I think that technically acini de pepe, my little stars, and the little tubes are ALL pastine.
      And, don’t pull the Italian card on me, I had an Italian grandmother too!!!! :p

  3. hhahaha i did not know that you had a nonna!!!

    still, i think pasta e fagioli is better with tubes. they catch the “soup”.

    thanks for reminding me anyway, i’ll be fixing baby girl some pastena

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