Pasta Fagioli

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This Italian peasant-style soup is quick and easy to make and delivers a satisfying bowl of goodness. Fagioli is Italian meaning bean. It usually refers to a white kidney bean that is not readily available here. This dish is a soup and pasta all in one making it into an entrée soup. Puréeing part of the beans renders the broth into a silken sauce-like coating for the beans, vegetables, and pasta.


Red kidney beans and cannellini beans are used here since white kidney beans are difficult to find. To raise the nutritional profile, use whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta of your choice. Penne rigate pasta has ridges that allow the saucy-soup to cling to it. However, other types of pasta would also work. Use nutritional yeast in place of the Reggiano Parmigiano cheese to make it vegan. If you do not plan to eat all in one sitting, keep the oil coated pasta separate from the soup base until ready to serve. Within one short hour, these few ingredients are turned into a supper-in-a-bowl!

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6 entrée servings


8 ounces penne rigate whole wheat pasta

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided in half

1 cup onions, small diced

½ cup carrots, small diced

½ cup fennel, small diced

½ cup green bell pepper, small diced

1 teaspoon garlic, mashed

1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced (or 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage)

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice

1 quart vegetable broth (reserve ½ cup to make the bean purée)

1 bay leaf

1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed

6 tablespoons Reggiano Parmigiano cheese, grated


1.     Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and kosher salt. Cook according to the package (time) directions until al dente (to-the-bite texture) which is still slightly chewy. Drain and toss the pasta with two tablespoons of the olive oil. Reserve at room temperature.

2.     Heat the remaining two tablespoons olive oil a large non-reactive saucepot over medium-high heat.

3.     When the oil shimmers add the onion, carrot, fennel, and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are soft about eight minutes.

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4.     Add the garlic, sage, and rosemary. Cook and stir for two minutes.

5.     Add the tomatoes, three-and-a-half cups vegetable broth, sage, rosemary, salt, pepper, kidney beans and one-half cup of the cannellini beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer for ten minutes.

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6.     Meanwhile, purée one cup of cannellini beans with one-half cup of vegetable broth until silken smooth.

7.     Add the bean purée and cooked pasta. Taste, Think, Transform with salt and/or pepper.

8.     Serve hot in six soup or pasta bowls. Garnish each with the cheese.

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