Pasta e fagioli is a hearty soup of beans and mini pasta bathing in a tomato-y broth. It is thick, rich, satisfying, and delicious. It also allows for a little bit of riffing to make it your own. While cannellini, navy, or cranberry beans are the go to for this soup, Ina Garten really amplifies this ingredient and goes all in with a 16 bean soup mix that typically contains just about every dried bean you can think of -- pinto beans, black beans, lentils, great northern beans, yellow and green split peas, red kidney beans, baby and large lima beans, pink beans, blackeye peas, Navy beans, small red beans, chick peas, whole green peas, and pearl barley.
This is obviously not a quick and easy version of pasta e fagioli where you are popping open cans of beans. It takes some prep. The Barefoot Contessa soaks the 16 bean soup mix overnight or for eight hours while you are at work or running errands. If you are thinking it's a lot of beans, it is, but she uses them in two different ways.
A Thick And Hearty Pasta E Fagioli
The combination of starchy pasta and beans creates the rich taste of pasta e fagioli, and to really create the thickness that is synonymous with this Italian dish, Ina Garten uses two-thirds of the drained beans, whole. She then takes the other third and uses her food mill to create a puree, getting rid of the skins so there are no texture issues when she adds it to the soup. The result is tasty perfection. To round out the flavors, Garten uses a little pancetta for a truly amazing experience for your taste buds.
If you are worried that the combination of the pasta and beans may lead to a soup that is more like a porridge than a soup, that's fair. As this soup sets, it does get thicker. But the cookbook author has an easy fix for this, which is to just add a little water or chicken broth until it is the consistency you desire. This soup will keep for about five days which is perfect when the weather is cold and you just want to warm something up.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.