Serves 8 +
Pasta e fagioli, made the traditional way with dried beans, takes about 3 hours to cook. This delicious version is made in just 30 minutes. The beans used here are canned cooked beans, and you can either pass all the beans through a food mill or leave half of them whole to create more texture in the soup. This recipe is vegetarian, but you could add some sausages and make the meal more substantial. If adding sausages, cook them separately in boiling water for 15 minutes, then add to the boiling soup in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
- Three 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig, needles stripped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- One 15-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 2 cups ditalini
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
In a blender, purée 2 cans of the beans with 1 cup water. Set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic. Once the garlic is sizzling, sprinkle in the flour. Let the flour toast for a minute but not color; then add 3 quarts of water, the rosemary, salt, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, add the tomatoes, 1 cup slosh water from the tomato can, and the bean purée. Simmer until the soup thickens and is creamy and flavorful, about 30 minutes.
Add the ditalini and the final can of beans (not puréed), and simmer until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the parsley and serve.