March 9, 2013
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)
- 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
- 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!