My family enjoys a good, meatless meal several times a week.  I’m picky about the meatless meals I serve.  They need to be delicious and filling. With two teenagers and a hungry husband, they want  a meal that doesn’t leave them hungry. And, at the same time, I want a recipe that’s healthy and not too expensive to prepare.  This Pasta e Fagioli (or Pasta and Bean Soup) recipe is all of these things.  Pasta e Fagioli (pronounced “Pasta Fazool”) is an Italian soup that is often served during Lent in our home.  It is quick to prepare and can easily be stretched to feed a few more mouths.

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Bean Soup)

Ingredients

  • 1 small fennel bulb with the fronds
  • 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup medium pasta (I used multi-grain penne rigata.)
  • 1 1/2 cups V8 Juice (Hot & Spicy)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite peas
  • shredded cheese to top

Directions

  • Remove the fronds from the fennel bulb and set aside.  Slice the fennel bulb into thin slices. You will need about one cup.
  • Sautee the sliced fennel and the minced garlic in the olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the broth and the pasta and cook for 5 minutes uncovered.
  • Stir in the V8, diced tomatoes, beans, and frozen peas. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the fennel is tender.
  • Top with shredded cheese.  Sprinkle chopped fennel fronds over the top of the cheese and serve.

Pasta e Fagioli is a very frugal dish to prepare.  You can change the type of beans you use based on what you have on hand.  You can add a bit more vegetable broth to the soup if you need to stretch it for a few extra guests.  Although I like to keep the pasta down to watch my carbs, you can also add in more pasta to bulk up the soup.  While I enjoy Vermont cheddar cheese shredded over the top of my Pasta e Fagioli, you can easily use Gouda, crumbled feta or even goat cheese depending on your preferences.  Pasta e Fagioli is just as good (if not better) reheated the next day for lunch.  Try it today!