Snowed in with the second of back-to-back major blizzards, it was definitely time for comfort food! "Pasta e fagioli", or beans and macaroni, are a staple of Italian immigrant poverty food. Most versions are made with tomatoes, but with Julia wearing as much as she eats lately, I wanted to make something with a little less stain potential.
No Tomato Pasta Fazool ~ $0.63 per serving, $5.03 total cost
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed ($1.00)
1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed ($1.00)
2 medium carrots, chopped ($0.08)
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced ($0.10)
1 small onion, chopped ($0.10)
5 cups vegetable stock ($2.50)
1 cup small shell pasta, uncooked ($0.25)
crushed red pepper
salt & pepper
1. Separate 1/2 cup of the cannellini beans, mash them thoroughly and set them aside.
2. Saute carrot, celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add stock, pasta, all mashed and whole beans, and spices to taste. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve topped with grated cheese.
Makes 8 servings
Everyone seemed to enjoy this except Julia, who pushed her bowl aside and only ate the bread. I served this with fresh semolina bread (recipe to come, I need to tweak it more) to sop up all the delicious broth. You can certainly use all cannellini beans for a more traditional soup, but I like to make food as colorful as possible for the kids. I definitely would use the more expensive extra-virgin olive oil to saute the vegetables as it does make the soup more flavorful. This hearty soup goes a long way. When reheating it, be sure to add some extra water or broth, as the pasta and beans will soak up all the liquid when refrigerated. I think Grandma would like this version of old-fashioned pasta fazool!