Monday, February 22, 2016

Pasta e Fagioli

Good morning!  I had a few requests for my recipe for the soup I made last night.  I tend to read several different recipes for something and make up my own as I go.  There won't be very many exact ingredients, but here goes:

Pasta e Fagioli

1 lb. ground meat (I used organic beef, but you probably use ground turkey, turkey sausage, or pork sausage)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Yellow onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic (More or less to your taste)
2 large carrots, diced
Splash of red wine
2 cups Beef Stock (you could use vegetable or chicken if that's what you have)
1-2 Tbls. tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Italian parsley and basil or Dried Italian seasoning
Crushed red pepper
1/2 cup Grated parmesan or romano cheese
1 lemon
Small cut pasta (elbow macaroni)

Brown the meat in EVOO adding salt and pepper, a little Italian seasoning (1-2 Tbs.), and a dash of crushed red pepper.  Once the meat is browned, add the onion and garlic.  Depending on the type of meat used, you may want to drain off some of the extra fat before adding the onion and garlic.  Allow a few minutes for the onion to soften and become translucent.  Add the diced carrots and allow them a few minutes to begin to soften.  Deglaze your pan with a splash of red wine and add the stock.  If you don't have wine, you can just use the stock.  Add the tomato paste, sauce, and diced tomatoes.  Add the rinsed and drained beans.  If you have fresh herbs, go ahead and add them now.  If not, add more Italian seasoning.  Add the cheese - I know this sounds odd, but the cheese gives it a slight sharpness and creaminess while also thickening the soup a little.  Allow the soup to come to a boil and turn the heat to simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Taste your soup and see if you want to add any additional seasoning.  At this point, I usually have water in another pot already boiling and add the pasta.  Some recipes allow for you to cook the pasta in the soup, but I don't like doing that.  I am able to control the amount of pasta in each bowl when they are cooked separately.  Also, the pasta can sometimes over cook or bloat if it is added into the soup.  I store the soup and pasta separately, if there is any left over.

Before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the soup once it's in the bowl.  If you like a strong lemon flavor, you can also add lemon zest.  You may also sprinkle some cheese over the top.  Enjoy!