Italian Pasta E Fagioli Soup – I’ll admit it – garlic bread suddenly crossed my mind and the best thing to have with homemade garlic bread is a huge bowl of fresh soup. This first day of Fall brought memories of quick trips to the scenic Italian seaside town of Trieste.
And Trieste means some of the best soups I’ve ever eaten – Minestrone or Pasta E Fagiolo, topped with freshly grated Parmesan. Waiters brought baskets of freshly baked bread or a bowl full of pungent garlic bread.
You know, the kind of garlic bread you can smell as they walk out of the trattoria kitchen towards your table! And who turms their nose up at garlic bread? Not I.
Pasta e Fagioli (aka Pasta e fazule or even commonly referred to as “Pasta Fazool” ) is basically a country style pasta and bean stew. The beauty of it is that you can easily adjust the recipe to make it soup by adding more broth. As long as you include ditalini and cannellini beans, you are good to go.
This is the way I remember it best – less as the Olive Garden® pasta e fagioli soup but more like a soup. With sausage in it.
Yes, it’s been a few years. But certain dishes become etched on your taste buds regardless of passing time.
Sure, you can purchase this soup ready-made or as “dried mixes”. Don’t go there.
The fresh soup tastes so much better than anything prepared and packaged!
Pasta e Fagioli (much like Minestrone soup) also qualifies as the perfect pantry/fridge clearing soup!
I prepared Italian green beans for dinner the previous night. The leftover green beans were chopped and added to the soup.
Why use the grease from cooked sausage when you can substitute that fat with pancetta? Everything taste better with bacon or in this case pancetta. We’re talking Italian all the way through.
A four ounce cell pack of pancetta is just enough to provide a little fat (and molto gusto) to the sautéed vegetables.
You can add a tablespoon of robust olive oil if you like. A dash of quality olive oil never hurt either. Depending on how often you cook using oilive oil, consider keeping:
If you don’t care for the intense olive oil flavor, buy a small bottle or even one of the roasted garlic infused for cooking.
I’m getting hungry now. The soup has simmered and I’ve added the sausage bits and the cannellini beans. We’re just about ready for dinner. The only thing left to do is butter the thick slices of bread and toast them to a delicate crisp.
Soup can be prepared in a variety of pans but my favorite pan for soup is a 7 quart enameled cast iron Dutch Oven.
The cast loop side handles allow me to sauté meats on the stove top, add the lid with it’s condensation bumps and finish braising a stew or a roast in the oven.
It is equally perfect for the stove top preparation of soup! Once the lid is on, you are not likely to have much if any liquid evaporate during the cooking process.
The other kitchen tool which I find to be useful for a great many tasks is the garlic grater.
Fresh garlic is a must in my kitchen and depending on the recipe, I crush, mince, chop or grate the garlic to best fit the recipe.
You want the dish to have the flavor of garlic rather than find yourself biting into a clove of garlic. For soup, I find that grated garlic works best.
As with a mandoline, use the proper tool to grate garlic. Garlic cloves are nearly impossible to hold securely and grate properly on a regular sized grater and you definitely do not want your finger tips to get too close to the blades.
Not sure why I did not think of this before but I was borderline ravenous by the time the soup was ready.
My garlic butter is normally a time consuming thing; I chop fresh parsley, crush the garlic, soften the butter then add Maldon sea salt flakes. A little salty crunch in the garlic butter is what I aim for.
After mixing all the ingredients togather, I season to taste and allow the butter to absorb all that garlicky flavor. It sits in the fridge for hours. Often, I prepare the garlic butter the day before!
In other words…
Ecco! We’ll call it burro all’aglio but just for today.
As I mentioned earlier, I like the sea salt crunch and you have to be able to immediately identify it as du beurre à l’ail! The best thing about this little time saver is that you can pop the lid back on the tub of butter and keep it in the fridge until you just have to have another slice of garlic bread.
P.S. I make it by the boat load when we eat escargots 😍
1 Cook, 2 Countries & A Taste For World Cuisines: A La Mode De Chez Nous - Cuisine d'Hier Et d'Aujourd'hui! For the love of home style cooking and great food. Memories are made of this!