The soup I love to serve in the dead of winter is pasta fagioli meaning pasta and bean soup, Neapolitan style. It is full of veggies and flavor. Not to mention beans and pasta. Yes, I make it now with gluten free pasta, same recipe as always. I use elbow pasta by Barilla; great flavor and held its shape well. Try not to overcook it though as gf pasta goes from done to mush easily if you are not paying attention! This rib sticking soup will be a meal if you add a salad and a slice of gf bread. I made it for my family the other week with a lovely new bread recipe which I will have to share sometime soon. It was a big hit. Warm, flavorful, satisfying and sure fills the tummy. I made it with dried beans I soaked overnight and cooked until pretty soft. White beans work too, navy beans come to mind as suitable. You can even use a couple of cans of beans; I did it recently with cannelloni beans and a can of fava beans; very Italian…
My version has lots of veggies; if you don’t want them all; leave some out! My secret vegetable: I often use small cubes of turnip as they hold their shape well and add a subtle tasty flavor to the soup. No one ever guesses they are in there; looks like cubes of potato. Or add more veggies, what is in your fridge? I have used green beans, summer squash cubes or peas.
Secret weapon: I always add a cheese rind or two saved from a chunk of Parmesan cheese. It really ups the flavor of the soup. And if you get a bit of it in your soup bowl the oozy cheesy goodness will be your prize!
Pasta Fagioli Soup
2 cups of dried cranberry, navy or kidney beans, soaked overnight in lots of filtered water. Be sure to pick over them for foreign objects.
1 bay leaf
1 quarter inch thick slice of prosciutto (leave out for vegetarian version)
¼ cup EVOL (extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped turnip
3 minced garlic cloves
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 can plum tomatoes chopped (or 1 lb fresh ones chopped in the summer when they have decent tomatoes available)
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 to 1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 cup elbow macaroni, gf
Directions: Drain the soaked beans, rinse well, return to cleaned pot and cover with fresh filtered water, add bay leaf and cook 1-2 hours until soft. Add water if it gets low. Turn off and let rest while you make soup. Skip step if you use canned beans; do drain them and rinse. Just add them where you would add the beans you soaked and cooked yourself.
Heat EVOL in big sturdy soup pan, I like a thick bottom to keep the soup from burning easily. Add onion and cook 5-6 minutes, add garlic, stir and cook a minute, add prosciutto which you have diced up into small squares and the parsley. Cook for a couple minutes, add the tomatoes, carrots, celery, turnip, hot pepper and stir well. Add a tsp. of salt. Cook uncovered about 12-14 minutes. Add any bean water in the pan. I often end up adding 1-4 cups of water during this point if there is no bean liquid. Mush up half the beans in a food processor or with a potato masher. Add to soup. Reheat and cook 5 minutes, add rest of beans, reheat and then add the pasta. Cook just the length of time the box says, stirring it every 2-3 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed and some fresh black pepper. Turn off and let stand 10 minutes before serving. I sometimes drizzle some best quality EVOL on the top of each bowl before digging in. A big bowl of that will warm you up for sure!
Originally posted by me in January 2015.