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Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)

Here is yet another edition of “Things I Wouldn’t Eat When I Was a Kid.” My mother often made Pasta e Fagioli which was pronounced “pasta fazool.” It’s an Italian soup made with beans and pasta.

It is famously mentioned in the 1953 (no, I wasn’t alive yet) Oscar-nominated Dean Martin song, “That’s Amore.” Everyone knows the first line, “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.” The soup shows up in the second line, “When the stars make you drool just like pasta fazool, that’s amore.”

Well, as a kid, I had no “amore” for beans at all. The only soups I ate were chicken (and with rice, not noodles), split pea soup and tomato soup with rice (but no sugar added; Mom always had to make me a separate batch than the rest of the family ate).

Now that I’m all grown up and more schooled in the art of cooking, I have lots of “amore” for soups filled with beans and pasta. And because I add dark, leafy greens to everything, my pasta fazool has that too.

Sometimes I make this soup with pinto beans, other times it may be chickpeas or cannelini beans. Sometimes I add Swiss chard and sometimes kale. It all depends on my mood and what’s in the fridge. I love recipes that let you change it up every time.

Hearty, filling and delicious, a bowl of my Pasta e Fagioli is the perfect thing to sit down to when you come in from the snow. And remember, if my pasta fazool makes you drool, that’s amore! Enjoy!

Pasta e Fagioli

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced
2-3 green onions or scallions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, diced
1 large or 2 small ribs of celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried rosemary
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups water
2 cups tomatoes, chopped or 1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 cups cooked (1 ½ cups dry) brown rice fusilli or other small pasta
1 ½ cups or 1-15 oz. canned pinto beans (or beans of your choice), drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large bunch Swiss chard, kale or other greens, chopped
Grated vegan parmesan, for garnish (optional)
In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, scallions, carrot, celery, garlic, rosemary and pepper flakes for about 5 minutes until softened.
Stir in the broth, water and tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans and the pasta.
Note: if you are using uncooked pasta, you need to eat the soup right away as the pasta will soak up all the liquid; if you are planning to eat the soup later or saving any for the next day, either add some of the uncooked pasta and cook it while you are warming the soup up or cook the pasta separately and add it to each bowl.
Season with salt and pepper. Add the greens to the pot. Do not stir. Cover the pot and let the greens steam until they are a verdant, bright green. Uncover the pot and stir in the greens. Serve while hot. Sprinkle with vegan grated parmesan, if desired.

The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.


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