Soup that's easy to fix and serve
Pasta e Fagioli may be Italy's most famous soup. The combination of pasta and beans is heart-warming, and can be served for two or a crowd. It's perfect to serve to friends. Leave the pot on the stove for everyone to help themselves.
In Italy, they use the last bits of pasta left in various opened boxes — a great way to use up the leftover pasta. This recipe calls for acini di pepe, a small round pasta used mostly for soups. Any type of small pasta can be used.
TIPS: If making the soup in advance, leave out the pasta and add it 10 minutes before serving. To make this a vegetarian dinner, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Canned Great Northern beans can be used instead of cannellinis. Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of bought minced garlic.
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Pasta e Fagioli
1 ½ cups rinsed and drained cannellini beans
2 cups canned, no-salt-added, whole tomatoes including the juice
1 cup sliced celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup acini di pepe pasta
½ cup fresh basil
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Place beans, tomatoes and their liquid, celery and garlic in a large saucepan. Add the chicken broth and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with the edge of a spoon. Cover, lower the heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes. Add the oil and pasta. Boil, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Add the basil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the soup in bowls and pass the Parmesan to sprinkle on top. Makes 2 servings.