Pasta e Fagioli is a traditional Italian peasant soup that translates to “pasta and beans.” It’s a soup that can be made with several types of pasta, usually tubettini, ditalini, or conchigliette. Prosciutto or pancetta is used for the base to give it a nice smoky flavor. I wanted to make a big batch so I used a slow cooker to cook the beans and broth. It turned out great, though I forgot to cut up the rosemary and it should really be finely chopped. Just before serving I mixed in the cooked pasta. I strained the rest of the noodles out before putting it away to prevent them from absorbing all the broth over night. The soup was great with a warm, crusty baguette and grated parmigiano reggiano.
Pasta e Fagioli
(Makes 6 quarts)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 5 oz. pancetta, cubed or diced
- 4 cans (15 oz. each) cannellini beans, washed and drained
- 3 cartons (96 oz.) chicken stock
- 1 tbsp freshly ground rosemary leaves
- 1 tbsp freshly ground sage leaves
- 1 tsp red peppers flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 8 oz. cans tomato paste
- 1 lemon, zest
- 1/2 lemon, juice
- parmigiano reggiano, grated for garnish
- 1 cup ditalini pasta, dried
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil and saute the onion until soft. Stir in the pancetta and saute for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, take 1 1/2 cans of the drained cannelini beans and puree in a food processor or mash by hand until the beans form a paste.
- Add the garlic, sage, pepper flakes, rosemary and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it melts, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato-onion mixture, chicken broth, beans, bean puree, lemon juice, and lemon zest into a slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 9 hours or on high for 5 hours.
- When the soup is ready, boil 1 cup pasta (good for 2 people) and divide the cooked noodles into two bowls.
- Add the parmigiano reggiano on top of the noodles and ladle the soup into the bowls.