Family recipes are the ongoing link connecting one generation to the next. My Great-grandmother, Lucy, came to the US from Italy when she was a teenager and brought with her that hearty Italian spirit and a love for pasta fagioli. I loved the days when we’d go pick up a giant pot full of the soup to bring home and enjoy for a couple dinners in a row. She was the only grandmother figure I had and she was more than enough. Between the hand knitted gifts, her quick wit, warm hugs, and inappropriate jokes, she filled every room with happiness and love. She even had a photo of the Statue of David as a light switch cover and the actual switch was in a place where I’ll let your imagination travel to.
Back to the pasta, I’ll try my best to give you an accurate recipe. Italians cook by sight and taste and not with math. “Layer” is just adding the spices until it evenly covers the top layer of the soup base. It’s all to your liking.
Things you will need:
- 2- 15oz cans of cannellini beans
- 1- 28oz can of crushed tomatoes *I use San Marzano or Roma tomatoes, Cento or Tutturosso will do the trick
- 1- Lg tomato chopped into medium sized pieces OR one 14oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1- 6oz can of tomato paste *I use Contadina
- 1- 16oz box of Ditalini pasta
- 1/2- chopped white onion
- 5- chopped stalks of celery
- 1- hefty tablespoon minced garlic
- olive oil
- garlic powder
- grated parmesan or Romano cheese to top it off
- meatballs/ground beef (cooked on its own) can be a great addition
So here it goes…
Recipe can take 1 to 3 hours. Depends on how long you’d like it to simmer. The longer the better. It makes 6 good sized bowls of soup unless you’re really, really hungry 🙂
- In a large pasta pot add a layer of olive oil on the bottom. Turn heat to medium.
- Add the chopped onion and garlic. Simmer until lightly browned.
- Add the tomato paste and stir until integrated with the garlic and onion. Add water to the paste can pour that into the pot get all of the paste out of the can.
- Add the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, beans, and celery to the pot. Stir really well to ensure the paste is mixed in completely.
- Fill the empty 28oz can with water and pour into the pot. If it doesn’t seem soupy enough you may add another half can of water to the pot.
- For the spices, add a layer of each: parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder.
- Add a sprinkle of sugar
- Let the soup base simmer on low for 45 minutes to 3 hours. 2 hours is what I usually let it simmer for. Don’t forget to mix it every 15 or so minutes.
- When it’s close to dinner time, cook your pasta accordingly to the box instructions.
- To serve, add your desired amount of pasta to the bowl and top it off with the soup base.
- Top off with a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan or Romano. Add any already cooked meatballs or protein that you may have.
Do not store the noodles in then base if you have leftovers. They tend to soak in the water. Reheating them in the same bowl is perfectly fine.
And that’s it. My Great-grandma Lucy’s Pasta Fagioli!
I will happily admit that I’ve been eating it for a few days and I never get tired of it.
Please enjoy! “Don’t forget the sprinkle of sugar!” Thats what my Great-grandma Lucy always said.