March 7, 2011

pasta e fagioli

How do you say "and chard too" in Italian? Because this pasta-and-bean soup also has chard. It was growing in my yard, begging to be eaten, so I threw it in. You could probably omit the chard and be fine. You could probably also substitute spinach or kale and be fine.

pasta e fagioli

1 cup dry navy beans
overnight. Drain and rinse. Then return it to a pot and add
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic (whole)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp dried sage

and bring to a boil.

pasta e fagioli

Cover the beans, reduce the heat, and simmer for 90 minutes, until beans are soft. (While you are waiting, you'll probably want to clean and cut the chard and other vegetables; instructions below.) Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves. Do not drain. Place the contents of the pot -- beans, water, garlic, and all -- into a blender or food processor, along with
5 oz. okara
1 cup water

and liquefy.

navy beans and okara

NB: If the bean mixture is too thick for your blender or food processor to handle, you can thin it out with some of the 4 cups of water that are called for in a later step.

bean puree

5-6 oz. chard
and remove the stems. Set the stems aside. Chop the chard finely.

chard stems

In a large pot over medium heat saute
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons olive oil
and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
chard stems, sliced

and saute for five minutes, until soft.


4 cups water
bean puree from blender or food processor
2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
the chopped chard

and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. (While you are waiting, you can cook the pasta; instructions below.)

1 tsp. dried rosemary
salt and pepper
to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

pasta e fagioli

1 1/2 cups small pasta (e.g., macaroni, fusilli)
according to the directions given on the package. Drain pasta and set aside.

NB: This is a great opportunity to try whole-wheat pasta, if you're curious but have been afraid.

When the soup is done, stir in the cooked pasta and serve.

Verdict: I absolutely love this. You could probably experiment with adding more okara, if you wanted to. I played it a little safe and only added 5 ounces, which is a little more than half a cup.