PASTA FAGIOLI WITH CREAM

 

1 lb. short pasta, Ditalini

 

6 cups chicken broth

1 can red or white kidney beans

1 onion, chopped

1 stick celery, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1 14 ounce can petite cut tomatoes

oregano

basil

salt and pepper

small container heavy cream

 

Parmesan cheese, grated

 

1.      Rinse and drain red/whit kidney beans, leave in colander on side.  Cook pasta according to package, drain with cold water and set aside

2.      In a large pot, add olive oil.  Sauté garlic, celery and onion until tender.  Add tomatoes and cook 15 to 20 minutes.  Add spices and kidney beans along with chicken broth.  Cook an additional ½ hour for everything to be heated thoroughly.

3.      When everything is all cooked thoroughly, at last, add heavy cream according to your personal taste.  I start with about 1 / 4 cup of heavy cream for a full pot of soup.  I just like a touch to make it dark still but with a little cream.  Not pink, then too much cream is added.  Start with 2 to 4 tablespoons of cream.  If not enough add 2 tablespoons at a time.    

4.      Mix together pasta and soup together in soup bowls.  Serve hot and top with grated Parmesan cheese.  Hint:  Do not put pasta in with soup or all the liquid will be absorbed.  

5.      Optional – Soup can be made with sausage, bacon or ham bone as a base for a meatier flavor.  I prefer it without the meat.

6.      ENJOY! –   A hearty soup with a dash of cream, tastes like a dream.…..

 

 

 

 

Pasta Fagioli means Pasta and Beans.  Beans are one of the healthiest proteins you can eat.  This dish can be prepared with white Cannelloni beans or red Kidney beans.  The dish tastes the same to me either way.  My mom always used red kidney beans for her recipe, so naturally, I used them.  Then I switched to the white beans.  I go back and forth.  To me, this recipe is soup, a very thick, rich soup.  The consistency can be made to your personal taste.  If you prefer more of a stew consistency, then add less chicken broth for thickness and add possibly some pasta water.  To have more of a soup consistency, add extra chicken broth.  When talking to different people about their own family Pasta Fagioli recipes, I find a few contain meat in the ingredients.  Meat and beans together is too heavy for my personal taste, but the men love the added meat.  This is not a recipe that has to be followed exactly to the “t”; you can improvise with the ingredients any way you like.  The main ingredients in this recipe are the beans, tomatoes, chicken broth and cream.  Anything else added would make this your own original recipe.

 

Since growing up during the Depression, my mother and father knew what being hungry felt like.  My parents made meals out of the simplest things.  For example, when I buy celery, I do not like the top part with the leaves, so I toss them out.  My mom put a stop to that.  She took them home with her to make celery soup with the celery tops and leaves. 

 

Soup can also be made with various bones and beans.  Ham shanks are used as the base for my mom’s Lentil bean soup recipe.  Lentils are very healthy for you but can be an acquired taste.  As a child, I was a picky eater, and I did not like lentil soup, although I had to eat it or eat nothing.  Many times I chose nothing rather than eat lentil soup.  This was my mom’s favorite soup and she made it often.  When she didn’t cook anymore, she often asked me to buy her lentil soup in the can.  I feel guilty about that.  I have tried to make it for her, but I haven’t been successful, probably because subconsciously I don’t like it, so I didn’t want to make it.

 

A leftover ham bone is a main ingredient for split pea soup.  Beef vegetable soup has pieces of beef and beef bones for flavor.  Turkey soup is very delicious and made a day or two after Thanksgiving from a very large turkey.  The soup is frozen and lasts the whole month of December.  I sometimes make a turkey broth soup with spinach and tiny meatballs for Christmas dinner from the frozen broth.  Soups with a cream base are also great as one-dish meals.  A corn chowder is hardy enough to eat alone and is very filling.    Broccoli cheddar soup is a favorite for my kids, plus they are getting their daily vegetables too.

 

Mmm mmm good, mmm mmm good, that’s what mom’s soups are mmm mmm good!

 

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