Pasta e fagioli is a simple, hearty soup-type dish made with pasta and beans. Some of you may know this dish from your Italian relatives, friends or local restaurants as “pasta fazool.”
Everyone seems to have their own special recipe for pasta e fagioli, and this one is my family’s. This is the type of rustic Italian dish that my parents grew up eating -- "peasant food," meaning it was cost-effective, hearty and the ingredients were readily available.
Peasant food or not, pasta e fagioli will fill you up, warm you up and it makes a satisfying meal -- especially when it’s served with rustic Italian bread and a glass of wine.
This is a vegetarian recipe (and vegan if you swap out the Parmesan cheese), but many people add prosciutto or bacon to the dish for added flavor.
In a large stock pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and the onion. Allow the onion to cook until it is tender (about 3 minutes). Add the tomato (or marinara sauce) and garlic and incorporate it into the mixture. Cook for just 1-2 minutes (be careful not to burn the garlic).
Add the vegetable stock, water, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring this to a boil and then add your pasta. Lower the heat and allow the pasta to cook until it’s about 3/4 of the way finished (still slightly firm).
Add your beans and allow the mixture to continue cooking until the pasta is fully cooked (about 10-15 minutes). Add the parsley toward the end of your cooking time. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Serve in individual bowls with extra parsley as garnish and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.