Weekday Vegetarian: Pasta e Fagioli
I've hit that wall that happens to me every year around about this time where I look at the fresh vegetables available to me in Ontario, like cabbage, parsnips, carrots and celeriac, and I can't imagine wanting to cook anything using them.
I usually snap out of it after a week or so, but I'm having trouble planning my meals because nothing is appealing. Then I came across this recipe for pasta e fagioli, and it just happened to be the coldest day so far of this winter, and a little Italian comfort food seemed just the thing.The original recipe called for two slices of bacon, and then cooking the onions and garlic in the bacon fat, but I left it out for a vegetarian version. By all means, put it back in if you feel like it. It also called for chicken broth, which I changed to vegetable broth.
It was also delicious the next day for lunch, although I had to add a bit more broth to it. I love this kind of dish. It's simple, it cooks quickly and it has a nice homey kind of feel to it, although I think my husband is getting tired of white bean stew kind of meals.
This recipe came from the website Food52, and I adapted it slightly to make it vegetarian.
Pasta e Fagioli
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small stalk celery
1 can (14 oz) vegetable broth
1 can (16 oz) cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 oz) whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup ditalini pasta
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
freshly ground pepper
1. In a heavy saucepan heat oil until it shimmers. Add onion and garlic, stirring until onion is soft and transparent. Add celery. Add broth and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
2. In a bowl mash 1/3 of the beans, then stir them into the onion mixture along with the remaining whole beans and tomatoes. Simmer the soup, covered for 15 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Then remove from heat and let stand, still covered, for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in parsley and top with Parmesan.