Bean and Pasta Soup
Although this recipe may take closer to 45 minutes to prepare than 30, Pasta e Fagioli is one of northern Italy's best known and loved soups and deserves to be included in this book. There are many variations of this soup and one of my favorites is from the Veneto, where the soup is thick and creamy, a texture that is achieved by mixing in some mashed boiled potato as well as mashing some of the beans. The beans traditionally used in this soup are cranberry beans, borlotti in Italian; some of the most famous ones come from a town in the Veneto called Lamon. A good substitute, if cranberry beans are not available, is cannellini beans.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturecreamy, garlicky, savory
Type of Dishhot soup
- 1 medium boiling potato
- ½ small yellow onion
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 medium celery stalk
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups (2 15-ounce cans) canned cranberry or cannellini beans, drained
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces fresh tomatoes
- 1 large beef bouillon cube
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 ounces short tubular pasta
- 3-4 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Wash the potato, put it in a pot, and cover it with water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the potato is tender, about 30 minutes.
While the potato is cooking, peel and finely chop the onion. Peel the carrot and the back of the celery stalk and cut both into small dice. Peel and lightly crush the garlic. Peel the tomatoes and coarsely chop them. When the potato is done, put the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in a 4- to 5-quart soup pot together with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Place over medium-high heat and sauté until the vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
While the vegetables are sautéing, peel the boiled potato.
When the vegetables are ready, remove and discard the garlic cloves. Add the chopped tomatoes and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the canned beans, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add 5 cups water and the bouillon cube. Mash the potato with a food mill or potato ricer and add to the pot. Do the same with the remaining cup of canned beans. Add the bay leaf, cover the pot, and raise the heat to high. When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
Add the pasta and cook, covered, until the pasta is al dente, stirring often. Chop enough parsley to measure 1 tablespoon. When the pasta is done, stir in the chopped parsley and serve. Drizzle some of the remaining olive oil and sprinkle freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over each serving.
2009 Giuliano Hazan