Pasta fazool or pasta e fagioli is Italian for pasta and beans. It is traditionally a meatless peasant dish. The pasta fazool I grew up with was a pile of spaghetti with beans over top! It was definitely not soup. Like the version that is widely available in all kind of restaurants nowadays. And it was always called fazool, not fagioli (fajoelee).
My version is made with cannelini beans, orzo pasta, fresh kale and tomatoes. I like orzo in it but next time will use a pasta with more heartiness to it like small shells or tubettini. It’s a cinch to throw together, cheap to make and can easily be made vegetarian/meatless by leaving out the bacon and using vegetable broth. It’s wonderfully comforting and was the bright spot on a long, dark, chilly night.
The next time you go out and see pasta e fagioli on the menu just tell the waitress you’ll have the “pasta fazool please!”
1. In a large soup pot or sauce pan saute the bacon until crispy, drain off some of the grease if desired and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and saute onion and carrot over medium-low heat until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, saute until fragrant.
2. Smoosh the diced tomatoes with your hands and add to the pan with bay leaf, kale, beans and chicken broth. Simmer for 25 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed halfway through.
3. In a separate pan cook the pasta, drain and drizzle/toss with olive oil.
4. Remove the bay leaf, stir in pasta, Parmesan and parsley. Serve with extra Parmesan, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and crusty bread.
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