Friday, May 22, 2009

Pasta Fagioli

I know we're getting into warmer weather, but I love soup year round.

This was a ridiculously easy, super healthy soup and tasted realllly good. Tim immediately declared it 'a winner'. Sometimes, the simple things are most enjoyed.

It's not a heavy soup, so a side salad and some crusty whole wheat bread are a perfect accompaniment.

My only commentary on the recipe is to warn you not to overdo the peas. A 1/2 cup is the perfect amount. I love peas, so I deviated from the recipe and added about 3/4 cup, and gosh darn it if it wasn't slightly too much. Reason being, the peas give the savory soup just a hint of sweetness. With too many peas, it can overpower the soup. I know, who would have thought a few extra peas could do that?! But it was still delicious and Tim ate the leftovers the next day for lunch.

It doesn't make a lot, so I recommend doubling the recipe for leftovers or to freeze a couple portions for later. We got 2 dinners, and 1 lunch out of 1 recipe batch. Mm, mm, good.

Pasta Fagioli (pasta and bean soup)
from Walgreens Health Corner & ChefMD

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 carrots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
One-quarter teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups low-salt vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup (2 ounces) uncooked whole wheat gemelli (small twisted pasta), or small shell pasta
1 can (14.5 ounces) seasoned diced tomatoes, undrained - such as Muir Glen brand (I used diced tomatoes with basil)
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) kidney beans or red beans, rinsed and drained (I used cannellini beans, kidney beans seem too much like a chili bean to me)
1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
One-quarter cup chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley (I didn't have this, and was fine)
1/4 cup grated Romano or Asiago cheese (We used parmesan)

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and carrots; cook 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes; cook 1 minute. Add broth and pasta; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and beans; return to a simmer and cook 5 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in peas; heat through. Ladle into shallow bowls; top with basil and cheese.

Substitutions: Freshly shelled peas may be substituted for frozen peas; stir them into the soup with the tomatoes and beans. Great Northern or cannellini beans may replace the kidney or red beans.

Tips: Leftover soup will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. For extra flavor, drizzle a small amount of rosemary-infused olive oil over the soup just before serving.

More pasta soup recipes from the blogosphere:
- Garden Pasta Soup, from Cooked from the Heart
- Tortellini Pasta Soup with Blue Cheese, from Foodie by Nature
- Vegetable Soup with Orzo, from Cook Almost Anything at least Once

Guten appetit!

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