Cooking is one of my favorite things to do in the Winter – there’s something comforting about the delightful smells that warm up my apartment on a cold, dreary day.
Pasta Fagioli is an Italian soup made with herbs, beans, pasta, tomatoes, garlic and broth, topped off with some fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. And it’s easy to make too – just throw all the ingredients in a large soup pot and cook it slow and low for an hour or so. The end result is a big pot ‘o goodness to warm up your toes.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 pound pancetta, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
- 2 cups chicken broth, low sodium
- 1 spring rosemary
- 2-3 springs fresh thyme
- cheesecloth, for rosemary and thyme herb sachet
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 pound ditalini pasta (or any short-tube pasta)
- Basil leaves, torn for garnish
- Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish
- Extra olive oil, for drizzling
- Coat a large, wide pot with olive oil and add pancetta. Bring to a medium heat and cook the pancetta until it starts to crisp, 4-5 minutes.
- Toss in the onion and season with salt and red pepper; cook until the onion is soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
- Add tomatoes and chicken broth, rosemary and thyme sprigs (in cheesecloth sachet), season with salt and black pepper, and bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the herbs sachet and discard.
- Add the cannellini beans and chickpeas to the pot and cook for 20 minutes more.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta two-thirds of the way until it is still fairly hard in the center. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Add pasta and cooking water to the soup pot with the tomatoes and the beans and continue to cook until the pasta is done, another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with some torn basil leaves, grated Parmigiano cheese and drizzle with some extra olive oil for garnish.
Recipe adapted from Anne Burrell, Cook Like a Rock Star