Meatless Monday: Pasta e Fagioli
Meatless Monday: Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Bean Soup)
For a good chunk of my teens and early twenties, I was vegetarian. Sometimes it was tough to be vegetarian in an Italian-American household. My family was gracious during that time of my life, making separate pots of meatless sauce, but I still felt left out from many meals. One exception to this was during the winter, when my dad would sometimes whip up a big pot of pasta e fagioli (pronounced fah-zool by many).
To this day, this recipe is one of my go-to winter comfort foods, and yet I’m pretty sure I’ve never made it the same twice. That’s the beauty of soup- you can throw a bunch of things you like into a pot with broth, and see what happens! It’s also a great way to help clear the refrigerator and cupboards without wasting anything if you’re planning on traveling for the holidays!
This recipe works well in a crock-pot or on the stove, and is EXTREMELY simple. The number of servings will depend a little bit on how much water you add, but cooking for just myself I have several days’ worth of leftovers.
1 qt Vegetable Stock
1 can beans (kidney, cannellini, or really whichever beans you’d like!)
Several handfuls fresh baby spinach
1 cup fresh-grated pecorino romano cheese (plus more for garnish)
2 Bell Peppers, diced
1 can of diced tomatoes (I didn’t have this on hand, so left it out this time)
½ medium sized red or white onion
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Cracked Red Pepper
½ lb pasta (small shapes work best- I used mini shells)
- Start a pot of water to make the pasta separate from the soup. Once it’s boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
- Sauté the diced onion in olive oil until it is translucent. Add onion/oil mixture to the crockpot.
- Add all ingredients to the crock-pot, including the cooked pasta (when it’s done- can be added later than the other ingredients). Depending on the ratio of broth in your soup, you can also add some of the pasta water.
- Season with cracked red pepper, black pepper, and salt, to-taste.
- Allow it to cook until the vegetables have softened (1-2 hours, less if done on stovetop).
- Serve! I like to garnish it with more freshly grated cheese and cracked red pepper!