I love a good, hot bowl of soup on a cold day. I bet you do, too. Recently, I had a craving for a nice, hot bowl of pasta e fagioli. If you are also a soup fan, you really should make this one. I think it's technically supposed to be a vegetarian dish, even though most of the recipes I came across called for pancetta or Italian sausage - so, vegetarians, knock yourself out. :)
Pasta e Fagioli
Recipe by Rachael Ray, adapted
Prep Time - 10 min
Cook Time - 20 min
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 lb Hot Italian Sausage
2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt and pepper
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1 cup water
4-5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups small pasta (I used elbows)
Grated Parmesn cheese, to top
Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and sausage. Once the sausage is almost cooked through, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper.
Add beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta.**
Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks.
Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup and remove pot from the heat. Let sit for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese.
**If you will be eating this for leftovers, I suggest cooking the noodles in a separate pot and adding them to your individual soup bowls instead of cooking them in the pot. When reheated, the noodles will get way over-cooked and mushy.