Pasta e Fagioli II

Pasta a Fagioli 2 close
During the winter months I make soup pretty regularly. It’s hearty, healthy and the kids usually love it, too. I have another recipe for Pasta e Fagioli on here that uses sausage but this one is made with pancetta and fresh herbs and has become my new #1.
I adapted this recipe from a Giada de Laurentiis recipe, so if you prefer a “white” pasta e fagioli, just leave out anything I labeled as optional (I happen to prefer mine red). This soup will definitely warm you up and fill you up – plus, it comes together very quickly. Keep warm this weekend!

Pasta e Fagioli II

Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup carrots, roughly chopped (optional; I added these in for flavor, color and to get more veggies into the kids)
  • 2 - 19 oz. cans white kidney beans (cannellini beans), rinsed and strained
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/8 - 1/4 cup tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup ditalini
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

  1. Combine the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium high heat and when it's hot, add in the pancetta - cook until it's browned and crispy then remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.  Leave the butter and oils in the pot over medium-low heat. 
  2. Place the onion, garlic and carrots in a food processor and pulse until it forms a paste.  Alternatively, if you don't mind a chunkier soup, you could just chop everything up into small pieces.  Personally, I like all of these ingredients to blend right into the soup base so the beans and pasta take the stage.
  3. Add the vegetable puree to the pot and cook in the heated oil and butter - saute the veggies for about 5-10 minutes over medium high-heat.
  4. While this is sauteeing, tie together the herbs with kitchen twine - if you have cheesecloth, you can wrap it up in that (I never do so I just tie it together as is).
  5. Pour the chicken broth into the pot and add in the kidney beans, pancetta and fresh herbs - add in 1/8 cup of the tomato paste and see if that's enough color for you, if you want it to be more red, add in another 1/8 cup.  Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove about 1 cup of the bean mixture, allow it to cool for about 5 minutes and then puree it in the food processor until it's smooth. 
  7. Remove the bunch of herbs and add the pasta to the pot and boil for 5-7 minutes with the lid on, you want the pasta to be al dente.
  8. Add the pureed beans back into the soup and stir well.  At this point I like to turn the heat off and let it sit with the lid on for about 10-15 minutes then it's ready to top with Parmesan and enjoy!

Pasta e Fagioli 2