Pasta Fagioli

Posted By Kerri

This started life as a potato and fennel soup but, somewhere along the way, pasta and beans became more appealing. Pasta and beans with chorizo. I’m sure the potato and fennel soup had potential but in a fight with chorizo there can only be one winner.

This was a pretty basic soup recipe to which I added some cooked pasta. I would have just thrown it into the soup towards the end of the cooking time but I wanted to use up the odd looking pasta that’s been hanging around for a while. I cooked it first and then sliced it up when it had cooled which was one of the most fun kitchen experiences I’ve had for a while. I love to chop and the way the knife sliced through that soft pasta was very rewarding. I’m tempted to buy another packet just so I can keep using it this way actually.

I also added some green beans which were left over from Friday night’s dinner and definitely past their best. They were fine in the soup though, as older vegetables mostly always are.

My top tip for this soup is to render the chorizo first and then add just half back to the soup. Reserve the other half for serving on top. Even with a short cooking time in liquid, the chorizo will leach most of it’s flavour leaving you with nicely textured but pretty tasteless chorizo. If you add half back when you serve (ensuring you’ve cooked plenty in the first place) then you’ll have fully flavoured liquid as well as tasty chorizo.

Pasta Fagioli
Serves Two (generously, i.e. with a small portion left over for lunch tomorrow)

150g dried cannelini beans
3 pints water
150g chorizo
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
Handful rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
Glass white wine
250ml vegetable stock
Parmesan cheese

Start by cooking the cannelini beans in a large saucepan. Today, these took about 1.5 hours but I find this varies so keep an eye on them and top up with water if you need to. You want the beans to be almost cooked but not so much that they are breaking down. A little more al-dente than you would serve pasta. Once cooked, leave the beans to cool in the cooking water.

In a frying pan, cook the chorizo until the fat has rendered. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper and blot to remove the excess oil.

Clean the pan with some more kitchen paper, add some olive oil and soften the onion, about five minutes. Then add the garlic, the bay leaves and rosemary and cook for another three minutes.

Next, add the tomato puree and stir until it is well incorporated. Add the wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated.

Return half the chorizo to the pan, season with pepper.

Now, tip the contents of the frying pan into the saucepan with the beans and the water. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes, squash some of the beans with the back of a wooden spoon so that they break down. This will help to thicken the soup.

Season with salt and pepper and serve. Add the remaining chorizo and grate over some parmesan cheese.

Feb 22nd, 2011

4 Comments to 'Pasta Fagioli'

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  1. Lizzie said,

    It looks delicious. I keep meaning to make a big hearty pasta and bean soup and then forgetting all about it. it will be done! Some sort of minerally vegetable like kale or cabbage would work well in it too.

  2. Antonia said,

    I really like the look of this (much nicer than fennel and potato soup to me as I hate fennel!). I love soups that are a whole ‘meal in a bowl’ like this. Bit of crusty bread on the side, perhaps. It is the kind of food that I’d love to curl up on the sofa with when the husband is away!

  3. Sounds and looks delicious – being stupid – what does rendered mean here? xxx

  4. Kerri said,

    Thanks, Lizzie. And thanks for the reminder about using up the pasta in soup too. Agree on the kale too, we’ve done that before and it works well.

    Thanks, Antonia. I used to be a fennel hater too but I really like it now, tagine was the thing that ‘cured’ me.

    Sorry, CC, render just means to cook until all the fat has cooked out.

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