Pasta E Fagioli

Pasta E Fagioli SERVES 8

A thick winter soup of passta and beans can serve as a hearty lunch or dinner when accompanied by a salad and some rustic whole wheat bread. I like to use shells, orecchiette, whole wheat penne, or farfalle in this soup. Use fresh herbs when possible. You can substitute marjoram for the oregano. Any combination of white beans (Great Nothern, cannellini, large limas, small white beans, etc.) will work. And of course, you can use low-sodium canned beans if you prefer; one can is about 15 ounces. 

- 1 pound dried white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans
- 4 quarts low-sodium organic vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 4 celery ribs, with leaves, sliced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil
- 1 pound whole wheat farfalle or penne, cooked according to package directions
- Salt and pepper

Soak the beans in cold water to cover for 6 hours or overnight. Discard the water. Cook the beans in the broth in a large pot with the bay leaves until tender, about 45 minutes, skimming okk any foam as it forms. in a small skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until fragrant and golden. Add to the beans along with the crushed tomatoes and celery with leaves, and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim foam as necessary. Stir in the oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide the pasta among to bowls and ladle in the soup.

 
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