Well, after not really getting sick for two years, I’ve been hit with a whopper of a cold, in the middle of a July heat and humidity wave, no less. Regardless of the heat, what do most people crave when they’re buried under blankets on the couch all day (assuming there is central A/C involved)? Soup! And so soup is what I made tonight, and let me tell you – it soothed me just as I hoped it would. Pasta Fagioli reminds me of a small little cafe on the campus of my college (which I attended all too long ago) – I always used to stop there if I had a night class and get a cup of pasta fagioli. This soup is the ultimate in comfort – full, hearty, and paired with the garlic herb breadsticks I made, totally deserving of being a complete meal.
The original recipe for this soup called for ground beef, but I thought the Italian sausage would kick up the flavor a bit, and really, as an Italian, when is Italian sausage NOT a good alternative for beef? Right, never. I did the sauteed combination of onions, garlic, carrots, and celery as I usually find this imparts a large amount of flavor in broth-based soups. You’ll also find this method used in my Italian Wedding Soup and Beef Barley Soup. This recipe makes a tremendous amount of soup; it almost filled up my 8qt stock pot, so be prepared to have soup for a few days (which sounds good to me right now because I’m sick), freeze the leftovers, or scale down the recipe.
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 package sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- ½ (0.5) large or 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 carrots, thinly sliced
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 28 oz. (793.79 g) can diced tomatoes
- 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- 64 oz. (1.81 l) beef broth
- 28 oz. (793.79 ml) can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 oz. (113.4 g) small dry pasta
- 1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large stockpot over medium high heat, and brown the sausage, crumbling it as it cooks. Once brown, remove sausage from pot with a slotted spoon and discard any grease that remains in the pot.
- 2. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pot, and add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, and saute over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add sausage back to the pot, add the can of diced tomatoes (do not drain), stir briefly, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- 3. Stir in the beans, and add the beef broth and tomato sauce. Add in all of the seasonings, stir well, turn the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it boils, turn down to low heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- 4. Add the dry pasta and continue to simmer on low for another 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite bread or crackers.