Pasta e Fagioli (Southern Region)
Pasta e Fagioli is a staple in our home. This soup is really hearty, inexpensive and delicious, and was one of Grandpa Colombo’s favorite dishes. Canned cannellini beans can be substituted for the dried beans…just use (2) 15-oz. cans of beans, drained, and skip the soaking and boiling method to tenderize the dried beans.
½ lb. Great Northern Beans, Cleaned & Soaked Overnight
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
½ Cup Celery, Diced, ½ Cup Onion, Diced
1 Tsp. Salt, 1 Tsp. Pepper, ½ Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tsp. Dried Oregano
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Cup Crushed Tomatoes
2 Cups Water
1 32-oz. Container Chicken Broth
1 ½ Cups Ditalini Pasta
Put ½ lb. of the Great Northern Beans in an 8 quart pot and cover with water (about 2” over the top of the beans). Place on the countertop and soak overnight. When ready, drain the beans in a colander. Return the beans to the 8 quart pot and add enough water to fill the pot 2/3 full. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approx. 1 hour, until beans are tender. Drain beans in a colander and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the diced celery, diced onion, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano, and sauté for approx. 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for approx. 1 minute. Add the soaked beans, crushed tomatoes, water and chicken broth to the pot. Bring the soup to a rapid boil, then add the ditalini pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring, for approx. 8 minutes, until pasta is cooked through. Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese.