Pasta e Fagioli, or Pasta Fazool, was my dad’s ultimate favorite soup in the whole wide world. It’s undoubtedly the one dish that he got to enjoy that made the longest lasting impression on him.
The thing is he was lucky enough to have access to the real deal, you know! The true, genuine, authentic stuff; The kind that gets to simmer for hours on the stove top, made by legitimate Italian mammas and wives. For my dad, you see, he worked for an Italian family practically his whole life. So Italian food, he got to eat a lot of!
Nonetheless, I think that he would’ve been all over this quick and easy version that I’m sharing with you today. While I don’t think that it could ever beat the real thing, this adaptation of the grand classic that is known as Pasta e Fagioli won’t leave you feeling deprived in the least.
No matter how quick and easy it is to prepare, that absolutely doesn’t make it any less delicious, bone warming or soul comforting to eat!
From start to finish, you’ll probably be looking at something like 45 minutes. I know, that’s not necessarily what one would call “quick”, especially not if you’re gonna spend that amount of time on the treadmill or something, but if you put things in perspective, 45 minutes total to whip up a batch of delicious homemade soup isn’t all that much.
Plus, most of that time won’t even require your active participation anyway, unless you enjoy spending time staring at a covered stockpot while its content it is simmering away. Not what I would call my idea of fun!
Mind you, if you gave me the choice between that and the treadmill? But I digress, once again! (yeah, that would be one of my specialties)
Let’s get back to our Pasta Fazool, shall we?
To start, melt some ghee (or, feel free to use your preferred cooking fat) in a large stockpot set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground beef and cook it, stirring from time to time, until it’s really crispy and nice and brown — about 7 to 8 minutes.
Make sure that you give the meat ample time to brown and crisp up; this will add tons of flavor and texture to the finished product.
When the meat is cooked to your liking, throw in the chopped onion, garlic, celery, carrot, oregano, salt, pepper and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Next, add the warm bone broth, diced tomatoes and cannellini beans; stir well and bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Now if you couldn’t find cannellini beans, you could very well use Great Northern or White Navy Beans instead. You could even sub Red Kidney Beans, if you wanted to; there’re no real strict rules to follow here. Well, not for this version anyway. If true Italian blood ran down my veins, though, I might feel very differently about that…
Whatever kind you decide to use, just make sure that you rinse and drain your beans very well before you add them to the soup. Of course, if you preferred to cook your own, you’d have total liberty to do just that; plan for about 1½ cups of cooked beans.
Finally, add the pasta and continue cooking until it’s tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Traditionally, Pasta e Fagioli is made with Ditalini Pasta, but really, any shape of small soup pasta will do. I chose to use small seashells because I’ve always had a soft spot for them. They’re just so darn cute.
But also too, my local grocery store didn’t carry Ditaliani Pasta and I didn’t feel like running around the entire city trying to find some. So I took the lazy way out. There. I said it.
As soon as your pasta is cooked to your liking, kill the heat, stir in the chopped parsley and serve without delay.
If you let your soup sit for too long, the pasta will absorb too much liquid and will get soggy. No buono!
Plus, this soup really is at its best when it’s piping hot. That’s when its bone warming and soul comforting capacity is at its full power!
I’m telling you, it’ll get you right where you need to be in 2 seconds, flat!
- 1 tbsp ghee (store-bought or homemade)
- 454g (1lb) lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups (960ml) warm bone broth (homemade or store-bought)
- 1-796ml (28oz) can of diced tomatoes
- 1-540ml (15oz) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups cooked beans)
- 1 cup (120g) dry small soup shells (or other small pasta of your choice)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Melt the ghee (or other cooking fat of your choice) in a large stockpot set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground beef and cook, stirring from time to time, until the meat nice and brown - about 7 or 8 minutes.
- Do give that meat ample time to brown and crisp up - that’s the key to getting tons of flavor.
- Throw in the chopped onion, garlic, celery, carrot, oregano, salt, pepper and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the warm bone broth, diced tomatoes and cannellini beans; stir well and bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the pasta and continue cooking until it's tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in chopped parsley and serve without delay.