Project Weeknight: Pasta e Fagioli

Ha! Project Weeknight is back, in a big way. I tackled Pasta e Fagioli last night. I combined elements of two recipes and came up with something I was pretty happy with.

The dish came together very quickly, but I sabotaged myself by pretending I could make yeast buns from scratch in time. I couldn't, and dinner was a good half-hour late because of it. Not that it wasn't worth it, though.

But first, the recipe!
Pasta e Fagioli
Adapted from The Innocent Primate Vegan Blog and Rachael Ray

2 Tablespoons oil/butter (your choice)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
6 cups total stock/water
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 cans (15 oz) cannellini or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 small zucchini, cut in quarters lengthwise then sliced 1/4"
1/2-3/4 cup small pasta (I used small shells)
1/2 cup frozen peas
Salt and black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat oil and/or butter in soup pot, then add onions and a dash of salt. Saute until soft, then add garlic, carrots, celery, and red pepper (if using). Saute for another few minutes until celery starts to look translucent.

Add stock/water, tomato paste, beans, herbs, and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Add pasta and zucchini, simmer another five minutes. Add peas and simmer until pasta is done. Adjust salt & pepper.

Serve with grated parmesan.

Sara at The Innocent Primate recommends cooking the pasta separately and adding it to each bowl if you're going to store leftover soup, because the pasta will continue to soak up liquid and grow if left in the soup. I leave the pasta in, but only because I take the leftovers for lunch and I appreciate the more stew-like consistency the next day.

I used all chicken stock, a quart of Evil Corporate stock and two cups of homemade. I can't believe I'm saying this, but it was almost too chicken-y. Next time I'll use a cup or two of water.

As I mentioned above, the 'fazool' cooked up very quickly but we had to wait for the bread. I'll be writing about that next, because it came out pretty well despite the rush job.

How good was it? My son gave it an 'all thumbs up'. I'll take that, even if he did eat around every single piece of zucchini in his bowl. Oh well.

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