I have lots of recipes for minestrone, but this classic recipe for pasta e fagioli is one of our favorites. It is perfect for a blustery winter day, and served with a tossed salad, freshly baked artisan bread, and a glass of vino rosso ... it is the ultimate comfort food. (In all honesty, sometimes we go without the salad and just have pasta e fagioli and bread.) (Oh, and wine. Don't forget the wine.)
This recipe makes enough for our family of five, with plenty for leftovers. If you have a small family, the recipe can be halved.
Bia's Pasta e Fagioli
3 carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes (I use the Cento brand)
4 potatoes, cubed
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. oregano
2-3 chicken bouillon cubes
salt & pepper, to taste
32 oz. carton low sodium chicken broth
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, partially thawed and cut into small squares
1 small pkg. ditalini pasta
Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated (for garnish)
1. Cook carrots, onions, and garlic in olive oil for 20 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients except beans and spinach. Add one half of the chicken broth (or enough until everything is submerged in liquid). Cook until potatoes are tender.
3. Shortly before serving, add beans and spinach. Bring to boil. Add the pasta and more broth (if needed). Cook until pasta is al dente.
4. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and serve.
Some additional notes:
-Even though I buy frozen chopped spinach, it is still too stringy for my crew. But when I partially thaw it and cube it ... no more spinach strings!
-Pasta e fagioli tastes even better the second day (it's true!), but because the liquid will have been absorbed overnight, simply add more chicken broth before heating it up. I keep the leftover carton of chicken broth in the refrigerator just for this purpose.
-The amount of chicken broth you add during cooking is a personal preference: if you want a thicker pasta e fagioli, add less broth; if you like it soupier, add more. We like it somewhere in the middle (see photo below).