Featured Recipe: Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)


Copyright Linda Gassenheimer

Known as Pasta e Fagioli, this soup may be one of Italy’s most famous soups.  The combination of pasta and beans is heart-warming, and can be served for two or a crowd.  It’s perfect to serve to friends during Super Bowl.  Leave the pot on the stove for everyone to help themselves.

In Italy they use the last bits of pasta left in various opened boxes – a great way to use up the leftover pasta.  This recipe calls for acini di pepe is a small round pasta used mostly for soups.  Any type of small pasta can be used for this recipe.

Recipes

PASTA AND BEAN SOUP (PASTA e FAGIOLI)

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

1 1/2-cups rinsed and drained cannellini beans

2 cups canned, no-salt-added, whole tomatoes including the juice

1 cup sliced celery

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 cups non-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup acini di pepe pasta

1/2 cup fresh basil

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Place beans, tomatoes and their liquid, celery and garlic in a large saucepan.  Add the chicken broth and water.  Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with the edge of a spoon.  Cover, lower the heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes. Add the oil and pasta and return to a boil.  Boil, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked.  Add the basil and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve the soup in bowls and pass the Parmesan to sprinkle on top.  Makes 2 servings.

ITALIAN LETTUCE SALAD

Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

2 cups washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad

2 tablespoons reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing

Place salad in a bowl and toss with the dressing.  Makes 2 servings

Nutrition Information

PASTA AND BEAN SOUP (PASTA e FAGIOLI): Per serving: 538 calories (30 percent from fat), 17.9 g fat (4.0 g saturated, 11.0 g monounsaturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 26.8 g protein, 71.6 g carbohydrates, 13.9 g fiber, 805 mg sodium. ITALIAN LETTUCE SALAD: Per serving: 19 calories (52 percent from fat), 1.1 g fat (0.1 g saturated, 0.3 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 0.7 g protein, 2.2 g carbohydrates, 1.0 g fiber, 8 mg sodium.

Shopping List

To buy: 1 can cannellini beans, 1 large can no-salt-added, whole tomatoes, 1 can non-fat, low-sodium chicken broth, 1 bunch celery, 1 package acini di pepe pasta, 1 bunch basil, 1 bag ready-to-eat Italian-style salad and 1 small piece Parmesan cheese.

Staples: olive oil, reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing, minced garlic, salt and black peppercorns.

Helpful Hints

  • If making the soup in advance, leave the pasta out and add it 10 minutes before serving to finish cooking.
  • To make this a vegetarian dinner, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  • Canned Great Northern beans can be used instead of cannellini beans.
  • Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of bought minced garlic.

Countdown:

  • Make soup.
  • While soup cooks, assemble salad.