This is one of my favorite winter dishes and incredibly easy to make. Many people get put off by the addition of anchovy paste to this soup, but this is definitely something you don’t want to leave out. The anchovy paste is not included for fish flavor, but as a flavor booster to every other ingredient in the dish. Sounds strange, I know, but it’s true. The best thing about this particular soup is that it is literally a meal in a bowl!
The name comes from the Italian, meaning “pasta and beans” but it sounds fancier if you say it in its original language. No matter how you say it, it’s chock full of vegetables and comforting flavors to keep you warm any cold day of the year.
Pasta e Fagioli
- Olive oil, as needed
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 T anchovy paste
- ½ T crushed red pepper
- 1 small carrot, brunoise
- 2 stalks of celery, brunoise
- 1 head of escarole or other comparable hearty leafy green such as kale or collards, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- 8 c chicken stock
- 1 lb pulled roasted chicken meat
- ½ lb cooked short noodle pasta such as ditalini, tubetti or orzo
- 1-15 oz can white beans, drained
- 1-15 oz can garbanzo beans drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Water as needed
Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and then the onions. Saute the onions until just tender, then add the garlic, anchovy paste and crushed red pepper.
Once you are getting a nice aroma off the anchovy, about 1 minute or so, add the carrots and celery. Saute the vegetable for another minute then add the greens.
Move the greens around in the hot vegetables until they just start to wilt. Add the chicken stock, cover and bring the soup to temperature. Reduce the heat, add the chicken meat and beans and simmer for 15 minutes.
Divide the soup between 6 bowls and serve.
The end result is hearty enough for a meal on its own, but if you’re looking to serve as a side dish it goes very well with a grilled raclette and semi-dried tomato sandwich.