An Italian place near us sold to a new owner and they stopped making their spectacular Pasta e Fagioli soup. It was one of the reason's we went there. I couldn't find another one I liked so I learned to make my own. It is so good, my daughters request it so we have it once or twice a month.
I've pieced together parts of of different to come up with this. I credit Rachel Ray for some of it, but using a hot Italian sausage gives it the zing I really like.
It's easy to make and when you serve it with parmesan cheese and a crusty bread for mopping up what's left, you've got a real winner here.
Any medium bodied red will pair well with this, but since it's an Italian dish, why not pair with with something native. My top recommendation is a Chainti Classic, but you could try any Sangiovese. You could also try a Primitivo (what Italian call Zinfandel) or a Sicilian Nero d'Avola. Neither of these will let you down.
Get your copy of my book. It's a great first step for any Casual Winer.
- 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of Italian sausage. I prefer the hot ones. It gives the soup a nice bite.
- 4 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 fresh stems with leaves of rosemary about 4 to 5 inches a piece
- 1 fresh stems with leaves of thyme stem 4 to 5 inches a piece
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 2 celery sticks chopped
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 2 - 16 oz cans of Cannellini beans. Navy or Great Northern beans will do fine if you can't find them.
- 24 oz can of crushed tomatoes. I'm a fan of the San Marzano ones.
- 2 cups of water
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups of Ditalini pasta. If you can't find it, use elbows or another similar shape.
- Crusty hard bread
- Parmesan cheese shaved or shredded
- Brown the sausage in half the olive oil. If the sausage came in casings, cut the sausage out of the casings. You want to smash up the sausage so you don't have clumps of them in the soup.
- Once browned, add the remaining olive oil, celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and saute them with the sausage for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the broth, water, tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- (Optional) Take about a cup of the soup and whip it up in the blender. That gives soup a creamier consistency.
- Bring to a boil again and add the pasta and the beans. Cook for the time it says in the cooking instructions plus 2 or 3 minutes longer so the pasta is soft.
- Serve and add the cheese over top. Make sure there's plenty of bread to go around.