Talk about comfort food. Pasta e fagioli is an Italian dish that literally means “pasta and beans.” Once considered a peasant dish because it consisted only of inexpensive ingredients, the Italian staple has countless variations. Many recipes use bacon or pancetta, but I love the simplicity and overwhelming goodness of this version, crammed with flavor and texture from a variety of fresh and dried herbs, vegetables, white beans, tomato sauce and tube-shaped pasta. Even better? The soup is low in saturated fat and crammed with fiber, boasting 16 grams per serving.
Pasta e Fagioli
For a completely vegetarian version, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (about 1 large)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery (about 2)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or stock
2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (cannellini or Great Northern), rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta (small tube-shaped pasta)
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs (with their stems), bay leaves, oregano, salt, and pepper and stir to coat. Add the broth, beans, tomato sauce, and water and increase the heat to high. Bring to a rapid boil.
2. Stir in the pasta, reduce the heat to medium, partially cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary and thyme sprigs (most of the herbs will have fallen off the stems and into the soup). Ladle soup into bowls and top with the Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Info Per Serving
Total Fat: 5 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Total Carbohydrate: 63 grams
Sugars: 6 grams
Protein: 20 grams
Sodium: 622 milligrams
Cholesterol: <1 milligram
Fiber: 16 grams
Robin Miller is host of Quick Fix Meals, a nutritionist and author of 10 cookbooks, including “Robin Takes 5” and “Robin Takes 5 for Busy Families.” She is the busy mom of two active boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinmillercooks.com.