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Pasta Fagioli

November 5, 2009

Laura’s Blog Entry

After a delicious dinner at the reopened ZZ’s Pizza on Gilbert Avenue, I was inspired to come up with a beanless version of Pasta Fagioli. If they can do it, why not me!

While this is hardly authentic, it is yummy.

Pasta Fagioli

Note: 1 can of white beans could be added if you want to include them. You might need another can of chicken broth in that case.

Also, this could easily be made vegetarian with vegetable broth and some sort of meatless sausage. I think it needs the sausage to get the flavor right.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 links of mild Italian sausage, casing removed and cut into bite sized pieces
2-14.5 oz cans of chicken broth
2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
4 springs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or ground red pepper
¾ cup uncooked elbow macaroni
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese for topping

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil to medium high. Add all vegetables except garlic. Saute until they begin to soften, 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.

Remove vegetables. Add sausage and brown slightly. Add the vegetables back in. Add broth, tomato paste, herbs and red pepper flakes.

Simmer soup until vegetables are tender and flavors have time to blend. It tastes better if you make it early in the day and let it sit to blend. Then just reheat it to serve. I put mine in a crock pot on low and let it simmer for a good 4 hours or more.

In a separate saucepan, cook the pasta until al dente. If you are eating the whole batch at once, you can cook the pasta in the soup at the end. Otherwise, keep the pasta separate and combine when serving. This keeps the pasta from blowing up and getting slimy.

Spoon a bit of pasta into each individual serving bowl. Fish out the herb stems from the soup, then top the pasta with the soup. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.

This is great served with bread to soak up the last bit of broth in the bowl!

Serves 4.

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