Pasta e Fagoli

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's soup season in Michigan -- one of my favorite times of the year.  Beautiful sunny days and chilly nights, perfect for snuggling up with some hot cider, a good book, the love of your life, or -- a steaming bowl of soup!  I love soup for so many reasons.  It's hot, therefore the opposite of a cold, soggy sandwich that has sat in your locker all day.  (Yes, carrying my lunch to school for 12 years seriously messed with my head.)  It's a great way to painlessly ingest some veggies.  And it's a great way to fill up without eating a load of calories.  Which has become rather important for me lately... the book will be out soon, and you will all have a chance to cook like you're Saucy.  Which is delicious.  And not always good for the figure, espcially if you're 5 foot nothing like me!  So, I am focusing on the soup and salad sections of my book.  And thought that some of you might appreciate a delicious lower calorie recipe right now, as a little preview.  This soup, a traditional Italian pasta and bean soup, is chock full of veggies and beans (so lots of fiber.  Read between the lines here, kiddos, and take your beano!) in a delicious savory sauce, perfect for dipping crusty bread into.  It's filling and very satisfying, without weighing you down.  Enjoy!

Pasta e Fagoli

1 TB olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp dried basil
1 large or 2 small cans tomatoes, cut up
6 cups chicken broth
3 15 oz cans beans, drained (kidney, navy, great white northern, or a mix)
3 cups uncooked pasta
salt and pepper
sliced green onions and parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat the oil and cook the onion and carrots for about 6 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, oregano and basil and cook 2 minutes more. Add the tomato, and cook 6 more minutes.

Pour half the beans and half the broth into a blender or food processor and puree. Add this to the soup, with the remaining broth and beans. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, skimming off any foam.

Add the pasta and boil uncovered until pasta is nearly tender. Correct seasonings with salt, pepper, and a little more basil. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be frozen.