Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli (A Meatless Mondays Recipe)
My grandmother made the best Pasta Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) ever. She never wrote her recipes down – you had to catch her in the act and try to scribble down the ingredients and guess how much she was adding (A little of this, and a bunch of that). For years I tried to find a bowl of pasta and beans that rivaled hers. In the end, I used a combination of recipes to get this vegetarian version tasting as close to hers as possible without breaking the diet bank.
1 Tbs olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 small or 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 can or box of crushed tomatoes (I like Pomi)
2 cans or one box carton of vegetable broth (28-32 oz total)
2 cups water**
1 Parmesan cheese rind
1 15 oz can cannellini beans (white or red)**
1 Tbs basil
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs parsley
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper flakes (if you like the heat)
6 oz pasta (Ditalini)
freshly grated Parmesan
Finely chop the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. (To save time I put mine all together in the food processor).
Saute the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots in olive oil over medium heat.
Add chopped tomatoes, beans**, cheese rind, vegetable broth, basil, bay leaf, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, if desired. Add one cup of water. Bring to a boil.
Simmer, stirring occasionally. Add the Ditalini and cook until pasta is al dente.
Top each bowl with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.
**Beans – for thicker soup, put all or half of the beans in a blender with a cup of water and blend until smooth. Add the remaining water to the pot. For a lighter color, use white cannellini beans instead of the red beans.