Pasta and Bean Soup (Fagioli)

This classic Italian soup is a medley of vegetables, beans and pasta. Serve it with some Italian bread for a wonderful lunch. The beans and pasta combine to make this soup a complete protein. Use any variety of beans you prefer, such as chickpeas, white kidney beans or white navy beans. If you like the taste of freshly cooked beans instead of canned, use the quick soak and cook method. Try adding a teaspoon of pesto as a garnish.

1. Spray a large non-stick saucepan with cooking oil, add the vegetable oil and place over medium heat. Sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the stock, tomatoes, sugar, dried basil, oregano, salt, pepper and 2 cups of the beans. Mash the remaining 1 cup beans and stir into the mixture. Bring to a boil, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in the pasta. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender but firm. Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan and basil.

2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped carrot
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup elbow macaroni or small shell pasta
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried basil

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 260
Protein 14 g
Fat 3.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Carbohydrates 43 g
Cholesterol 2.5 mg
Sodium 638 mg
Fiber 13 g

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes

Make Ahead: Prepare the soup up to the point of adding the pasta and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to a boil, add the pasta and cook, adding more stock if too thick. Garnish before serving.

Serves 6