Italian cooking is something that has grown on me over time. Growing up, I had one too many dinners of overcooked spaghetti and topped with a miniscule amount of cold pasta sauce from a jar. Though bland and tasteless in it of themselves, these meals left a bad taste in my mouth for the future.
As years have gone on, I have become more acclimated with delicious Italian dishes that have great flavor and fresh vegetables. Pressured to make a meal for a faculty event a few months ago, I stumbled upon this recipe for pasta e fagioli (or “pasta fazool” for you Dean Martin fans.) Literally this means pasta and beans. I changed this recipe to omit meat and add more vegetables. I also changed the quantities of ingredients so it yields 3-4 servings.
- 1 T olive oil
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 1 ½ – 2 colored peppers, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 15 oz can peeled tomatoes, blended
- 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Crushed red pepper, to taste
- Grounded salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ t. basil
- ¼ t. oregano
- ½ cup ditalini pasta
- Chop, mince, drain, blend, and prepare all ingredients
- Cook chopped onion in oil for a few minutes until they start to appear translucent. Add peppers and cook for a few minutes until they start to become soft. Add garlic and stir for one minute.
- Add vegetable broth and stir into onion and peppers. Add blended tomatoes and spices to taste. I am usually heavy handed with the crushed red pepper.
- Add the drained beans and spinach. Stir until all mixed together. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.
- After the mixture has simmered, add the ditalini noodles to cook in the mixture. Stir and cook until the noodles are al dente. More liquid may have to be added if needed. The final product for this recipe has turned out more soup-like a few times, and more think like chili other times. Each result has been equally delicious!
- Taste the pasta e fagioli to see if it needs more spices and add to your liking!
- Serve hot with your favorite crusty Italian bread. It is very delicious the next day, so save some for leftovers!