Pasta and bean soup (Pasta e fagioli)

August 11, 2011

This is yum! Allegra Mcevedy’s Economy Gastronomy has some great recipes and this is such a healthy delcious soup/stew, perfect for warming up on these chilly days. You can vary the vegetables depending on what’s in the fridge, and could add some pancetta or streaky bacon if you need more protein. I used fennel, carrot, leek and celery and borlotti beans which was delicious.

Serves 4

Ingredients

90ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 onion, peeled, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
600g mixed vegetables (such as courgette, fennel, swede, potato, sweet potato, leek, celery, carrot or peas), chopped into 1cm cubes
3-4 pinches dried mixed herbs (such as rosemary, oregano and thyme)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, preferably home-made
80g dried pasta, such as penne
1 x 400g can beans (such as cannellini, borlotti, haricot or chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2 fresh bay leaves
50g freshly grated parmesan
1 large or 2 small very ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

Method

Heat 60ml of the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.

Add all of the mixed vegetables (except the peas, if using) and the dried mixed herbs to the pan. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan with a lid and continue to fry for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, or until the vegetables have softened and are pale golden-brown.

Add the stock, pasta, beans, bay leaves and peas (if using), then bring the mixture to the boil. Return the mixture to a simmer and continue to simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the pasta has absorbed some of the liquid and is tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly before serving.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together the parmesan, chopped tomatoes and the remaining 30ml of olive oil until well combined.

To serve, spoon the pasta e fagioli into four serving bowls. Spoon over the parmesan and tomato mixture. Season, to taste, with freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle a splash of olive oil over each serving.

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