20 October 2010

Warm Soup ... Pasta e Fagioli

A year ago, I was just becoming proficient in using my Facebook account. I'd discovered 'Notes'  and would use the app to publish short pieces of poetry or rants for my 'friends' to read. I published the following note one morning as I contemplated a chilly day and our need for a steaming pot of soup. When my daughter, Sara read it, she commented , "Mom, you really need to start a food blog ... for realz."  Then she followed up with, " I'm serious. Get to it!"  I commented ,"Don't know how to do it..."

What followed was three weeks of hemming and hawing and then a visit from my older daughter Kate. She came home armed with computer know-how. She sat me down and helped me set up The Spice Garden ... and I haven't looked back ... until today.  I got up with a cold and thought ... 'Soup!  Must have soup!'.  As I soaked the beans, I thought of sharing that 'note'.  It's kind of eerie, don't you think,  that just about a year ago to the day, I was making this same soup ?  Read on ...

In Praise of … Soup!

It’s cold this morning and I’ve shuffled about the kitchen getting coffee and contemplating turning the furnace on for the first time this season. Well, it IS October 15th! I suppose there must come a time for depending on foreign oil again, but today, I think I will pull out the olive oil and throw together a big pot of soup to stave off the cold that this ‘Canadian high’ pushes toward New England. Yes, it’s the perfect day to make soup …

Think about it! Soup is the easiest and most soul-satisfying brew appropriate for all age groups (I say this for the topers in the crowd… you know who you are)! There are countless references to the sustenance of soup – Oliver Twist pushed his bowl forward for more ‘gruel’, Pooh waxed eloquent the power of a ‘sustaining soup’, a wise Granny prepared a ‘stone soup’ that satisfied, refugees and war prisoners have survived on meager soups that kept a spark of life and energy alive for one more day, Seinfeld and his urban cohorts stood in line for their daily fix from the Soup Nazi’s storefront, countless folk have lovingly prepared ‘Jewish penicillin’ for a friend who was sick and needed a warm broth. I could go on; don’t tempt me!

Soup… the ultimate comfort food!  And on that note, I share my ‘soup for the day’. Perhaps you will be inspired to throw together a pot of Pasta e Fagioli or go to your recipes and pull your favorite to have steaming on the stove when you gather for dinner. My recipe comes from our family cookbook … I pass it lovingly to any and all! If you choose one of your favorite recipes for supper tonight, I hope you share it with any... and all!

So, back to the soup ...

The angels in heaven are shining down on this soup pot  ....

Ditalini ... tiny pasta perfect for this soup ...

Instead of canned, I'll use some of the last of the garden plum tomatoes.
Pasta e Fagioli - printer friendly

Pasta e Fagioli


1 ½ c. white beans soaked for several hours
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
½ lb. ham, finely chopped
2 qts. Water
2 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped and squashed through your fingers into the pot
2 generous tsp. tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
generous pinches of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika
½ c. tiny pasta (ditalini or orzo are good choices)
extra olive oil
1 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

Making the Soup:

1. Drain the white beans , rinse, and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a deep soup pot and sauté over medium heat, tossing constantly until transparent and softened : onion, carrot, celery, and ham.

3. Add the beans, water, tomatoes, and tomato paste and bring to a boil.

4. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Stir often to prevent sticking.

5. Add salt and pepper to correct seasoning.

6. Place half the soup in a blender and process until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in. Correct seasonings and add cayenne and smoked paprika.

7. Add tiny pasta and cover to finish the soup.

8. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.

Note: If soup sits long before serving, it will thicken dramatically. Add ¼ c. of water at a time to reach desired thickness. Re-warm and serve as above. Excellent with a rustica bread, green salad, and a cabernet/merlot.


  1. I am trying to make soup more often too. Love soups :)

  2. mouth literally watering... I love the teeny pasta too!... and, should there be aby left, these are the kind of soups that taste so good the next day too!

  3. This is one of my favourite soups. I make it all the time in the fall and winter. Love it!

  4. Hmmm so good. Being of Italian decent this is something I love. I wish I could have made this soup tonight for my supper.

  5. what a perfect fall soup!! Your soup certainly would be a welcome addition to my table, thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  6. @ Chef Dennis - Thank you so much! Your compliment means a lot! Stop by again! It's a joy to see new faces discovering the blog!

  7. Happy Blogaversary - has it been a year since you started blogging? It's good sometimes to look back to see how far you've come don't you think? You are doing a great job. I'm glad your daughters encouraged you to start your blog.... am sure their waistlines have benefited! Haha!

  8. @ Trissa - Thank you so much, Trissa! Those are kind words coming from you! I have great respect for your talents ... always return to your blog for ideas and inspiration!


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