Pasta e Fagioli (a fancy way to say noodles and beans)
Baby, it's cold outside! Which means that it's time to make something hearty. This is one of the family favorites for a cold Winter's day like today. It's warm, filling, and sits nicely in the stomach, radiating it's goodness throughout. And best of all, it's cheap 🙂 I call it a soup for lack of a better term – it's made like a soup, but it's really something other.
I've found this consistently feeds four people, but it's infinitely scalable – I regularly make a double-batch when the kids are around.
To start with, take around 1/2 lb. beans and wash them thoroughly. In the process, pick out any nasty-looking ones (splits, withered, etc) and throw them away. Put them in a pot with 4 cups (1 quart) of chicken stock and 2 cups of cold water. Bring them up to a simmer, and at the same time add in 1/3c olive oil, 4tbsp minced garlic, 2tsp black pepper, 1tbsp dried basil, 1tsp rosemary and about 1/2tsp red pepper flakes. Let that simmer, uncovered, for an hour and a half.
Meanwhile, cook 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni, and when that's done, run the elbows under cold water to stop the cooking process. First save a cup of the pasta water, just in case there's not enough liquid left in the beans.
When the beans are soft and the liquid in the pot is reduced by a little over 1/2, add in the macaroni, and 1/2c pasta sauce. If the mix seems dry, add a little pasta water to compensate. Stir until incorporated, and the mix is hot.
Serve in bowls and top with Parmesan cheese.
Shopping list (serves about four)
- 1/2 pound White (Navy) Beans
- 1/2 pound Elbow Macaroni
- 1 quart Chicken Stock
- Pasta Sauce (leftover marinara from a jar is okay)
- Parmesan Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Dried Basil
- Dried Rosemary
- Red Pepper Flakes