TNT Easy Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta & Bean Soup)
I made this version of pasta e fagioli, or pasta and bean soup, for dinner tonight. It's one of the most popular and traditional Italian soups. As with most things Italian, there are about as many recipes for it as there are nonnas (grandmas). However, this one is quick and simple, and the results are excellent. It makes about 5 quarts, enough for 4 to 6 main servings.
PASTA e FAGIOLI
(Italian Pasta & Bean Soup)
1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
10 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
¼ cup chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
3 15-ounce cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), undrained
5 cups water
salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
freshly ground black pepper to taste (about ½ teaspoon)
4 ounces dried pasta (any shape – elbows, broken spaghetti, shells, etc.)
1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a medium-sized soup pot until soft.
2. Add the garlic and sauté until it turns opaque and releases its aroma.
3. Add the tomatoes, basil, and parsley, and cook over moderately high heat until tomatoes begin to break down into sauce.
4. Add the beans with their liquid and the water. (Use some of the water to rinse the cans to get out the last few beans.)
5. Cook over medium heat at least 15 minutes, or until beans begin to break down and soup thickens.
6. Just before serving, add the pasta to the simmering soup and cook until al dente (soft enough to eat but still a little firm when you bite it).
7. Serve immediately. Pass grated Parmesan cheese and additional extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling over the soup, if desired.
Makes about 5 quarts (20 cups) of soup.