Thursday, January 4, 2024

New Year's Day soup: Simple Pasta Fagioli

Let's start off the year right with a simple healthy Italian soup!  Pasta Fagioli can be made in one pot and uses pantry staples to bring you that winter comfort food we all crave.


Simple Pasta Fagioli

Happy 2024!  Starting off the year with good intentions to eat healthy?  That's always a goal of ours and I like to start off with a warm comforting soup.  Pasta Fagioli is a one pot soup that can be completed in under 30 minutes.  It is loaded with beans, pasta, and a thick tomato base.  This particular version doesn't have any meat in it although you can add pancetta if you like.  Serve it with some crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal.

The perfect comfy, cozy meal that healthy to boot!  Make this soup on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot like I've done today.  It will be one that the whole family will enjoy and you'll be coming back for more.


What Ingredients do I need?

  • olive oil
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • dried herbs (bay leaf, basil, parsley, and oregano)
  • garlic
  • yellow onion
  • carrots
  • red pepper flakes
  • short pasta (small shells, macaroni or ditalini)
  • low sodium chicken broth
  • tomato sauce

Substitutions and Variations

  • Canned beans make this soup easy but you can cook your own beans from dried it you choose.
  • Substitute another white bean such as Navy Great Northern White beans.
  • Any short or small pasta will work. Macaroni, orzo, or ditalini will all work well.  I used small shells because that was what I had on hand.
  • Broth:  I used a low sodium chicken broth for flavor.  To make this vegetarian you can use a vegetable broth.
  • Add meat:  you can sauté some pancetta or bacon with the carrots and onions if you like.

Kitchen Tips and Notes

Make sure to rinse your canned beans before adding them to the soup.

Carrots and onions:  I used my small food processor to chop my carrots and onion in to small minced/diced pieces.  This made prep time go quickly.  

Stovetop directions:  Sauté the onion and carrots, then add the beans, broth, water, tomato sauce and spices.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Allow to cook for 15 minutes.  Add in the pasta and cook 8-10 minutes then serve.

Instant Pot directions:  Add olive oil to an instant pot and turn on the sauté feature.  When hot add the carrots and onions and sauté a few minutes until slightly softened.  Add in all the rest of the ingredients including the pasta.  NOTE: add the tomato sauce last and do not stir after adding to avoid any "burn" messages while cooking.  Set the instant pot to cook 7-9 minutes then do a quick release and serve.

Another method is to cook the pasta separate from the soup and add some to a bowl and then add the soup over it.  This keeps the pasta from absorbing all the soup broth as it sits in the soup.  You can store any leftovers separately as well.

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Simple Pasta Fagioli

serve 6-8 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced or small diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup minced carrots
2 15 oz cans cannellini beans. drained and rinsed
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil1/4 cup dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 heaping cup small pasta (about 5-6 oz)

For the Instant Pot:  Add olive oil to the pot and turn on the Sauté function and allow to heat.  Add onions and carrots and cook about 5 minutes until softened and the onion are starting to be translucent.  Add in the garlic and stir.  Hit the cancel feature to stop the cooking.  

Add in the pasta, beans, seasonings, water and broth to the pot. Pour the tomatoes on top. Do not stir it.

Cook on high pressure for 7-9 minutes and do a quick release once the soup has cooked.  Discard any bay leaves and serve.  Top with grated Parmesan if you like.

(see Kitchen Tips and Notes above for stovetop directions)

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