Chef Alex’s Lunchbox: Pasta e Fagiole Soup
Cold salads and sandwiches just don’t cut it as satisfying workday lunches in the cooler months. What you really need is soup – hearty, filling, nutritious soup. Pasta e Fagiole is an Italian classic made with cannellini beans, short-cut pasta and a tomato-based broth, and it’s sure to warm you up thorough the week.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice (about 2 cups)
1 medium carrot, small dice (about 1 cup)
3 stalks celery, small dice (about 1 cup)
4 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (3 cups pureed)
4 cups vegetable stock
2 15-ounce can cannellini beans
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ cups whole wheat elbow or ditalini pasta
In a two gallon pot, heat the oil over a moderate flame. Add onion, carrots and celery, and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for 3 more minutes.
Add tomato puree, stock and cannellini beans to the pot, and bring up to a simmer.
Add bay leaves, thyme, salt and black pepper, stirring to incorporate. Simmer 15 more minutes then add the pasta, stirring frequently so it cooks evenly. Continue to cook for 6 – 8 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Remove bay leaves.
Serve with optional grated Parmigiano Reggiano and torn basil leaves.