Creamy Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Pasta e Fagioli is a simple dish that is a combination of “noodles” and “beans” (hence the name). This Italian soup doesn’t have one specific recipe, because it changes from region to region and house to house. The base requirement are beans and pasta, but the rest is more what you have available. It’s traditionally a peasant dish and made with inexpensive and seasonal ingredients. As it has gained popularity throughout the world, and specifically the United States, it has evolved and changed. Some recipes have a thin broth while others add cream. Some recipes are highly seasoned while others stick primarily to vegetable flavors. Some even add chunks of meat. It’s really up to you and your own creativity.

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I wanted a soup that would be easy to throw together on a weeknight or make ahead for lunches or dinners throughout the week. I also wanted it to be hearty without feeling heavy like most cream based soups. So, I played around with what I know about using whole food ingredients and came up with this recipe. I’ve been making it for several years now and I’m always pleased with the results. What’s the secret ingredient? Well, you’ll have to keep reading to find out!

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Cannellini beans are pureed right into the broth which adds a delicious depth of flavor to your soup, provides a boost of protein and fiber, and gives a subtle creaminess. And not just the beans but also the water in the can! That water has been infused with the starch from the beans and the soluble fiber which helps to thicken a broth without flours or starches. It seems odd at first but once you realize it’s just infused water it seems less weird. You’ve heard of aquafaba right? The liquid from a can of chickpeas? This is the same thing, just from a different bean. Enjoy!

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Pasta e Fagioli

Soup made with noodles and beans. It's warm and comforting and can be made quickly.
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword soup, vegan
Prep Time – 20 mins
Cook Time – 15 mins
Total Time – 35 mins
Servings – 4 People

Equipment

  • Immersion blender or upright blender

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 2-15 ounce cans cannellini beans (not drained)
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 Tbl chopped fresh)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 medium carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 1 cup dry ditalini pasta (can sub in other noodle)
  • 15 ounces red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in pot over medium high heat until it is shimmering, about 1 minute. Add onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes until just starting to brown. Add chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes while occasionally stirring to prevent overcooking.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, salt, thyme, rosemary, and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Then puree using an immersion blender or transfer to a stand blender. (Follow product directions on how to blend hot liquids in a stand blender.)
  • Add carrots, celery, kidney beans, and pasta to the blended liquid mix and heat over medium-high until simmering (bubbles on the sides of the pot and a few in the middle). Turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally so that the noodles don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. The soup is finished once the noodles are cooked to al dente (soft but still a little firmness to them).
  • Garnish with rough chopped fresh parsley and/or other fresh herbs like thyme, sage, oregano. Fresh cracked pepper is also a good addition to your bowl.

Notes

You may feel the compulsion to drain and rinse the cannellini beans before adding them to the stock. Don’t. This recipe depends on the liquid in the can for consistency. The liquid is loaded with starch and fiber and protein which helps to make the soup thicker and creamier. 
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