Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finding The Magic and Recipe for Pasta Fagioli

As I sit with my computer I think, what should I write about? It’s cold and damp. I am not quite as active, and I do not feel as inspired with creativity. Well, maybe that’s the way it is supposed to be. Winter time is more quiet. It is the season to be still and reflective. Especially after all the holiday chaos, I welcome the quiet and gather my energy to break out in the Spring.

Here’s a nice warming variation on pasta fagioli to help you break that post-holiday daze. Even better, this thick and filling stew is a great way to make use of leftover pasta
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Note: When you read this recipe you will notice a range for the amount of beans and pasta. If you like a heartier dish, use the larger amount.

2 cups of diced onions (feel free to add more onions for a sweeter taste)
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 - 3 cups of escarole, chopped into 1” by 1” pieces
1 1/2 - 2 cups of pre-cooked white beans (I used canned Eden brand cannellini beans)
1 1/2 - 2 cups of leftover pasta, cut into 1/2 inch pieces. I like to use fusilli. If you are using fresh pasta, it needs to be cooked really al dente. You would want to make 2 cups of dry pasta. For a more rich flavor you can use some of the cooking water from the pasta.
6 - 7 cups of water (total amount of liquid)
2-4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of sea salt (This is the range for the recommended salt use)
Black pepper (optional)
Red pepper flakes (optional, but this really brings the flavor to life.
Pasta Fagioli, yummy!

For variation, try adding some fried sourdough bread crumbs for an even richer dish.

Gently heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot over low heat.
Add the onions and begin to sauté.
Add about 1 cup of water to the pot, then add the garlic and a pinch of sea salt.
Add a shake or two of red pepper flakes (be careful, these can be hot!).
Continue to sauté the onions until they become translucent.
Add additional water as needed to keep the onions from sticking.
Add the white beans and about 5  cups of water to the pot.
Next, add 1.5 - 2 teaspoons of sea salt.
Increase the flame and bring the mixture to a subtle boil. Once the mixture is bubbling, lower the flame and place a flame deflector under the pot.  Simmer on low for 7 minutes or so.
Add the chopped escarole and cook for another 5 minutes.
Finally, add the pasta, a drizzle of olive oil and a nice crack of black pepper. If you doing the bread crumb variation, add them at this point. Let cook for another minute or two.

I like to serve this hearty soup with lighter grain dishes, such as polenta or a couscous salad or brown rice. To complete the meal, don’t forget to include a light vegetable side dish!


  1. That sounds delicious! I can't wait to try it.

  2. Susan,
    Thank you for this delicious recipe. Really great for cold winter days!

  3. My partner Cody made this for me and it was delicious. A perfect solution to wet winter days. Thank you Susan for your inspired art/cook work. Laura.