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Quick Pasta Fagiole

October 5, 2009

A weekend of over-indulging on food at the Greek festival, bachelorette party fare and an awesome brunch made me

pasta fagiole

pasta fagiole

want to get my act together on Sunday night for dinner.  I was craving something filling and with pasta, so I needed to get some veggies in there too.  I remembered seeing some recipes for pasta fagiole (Italian for beans) last year and decided to make a quick version with more vegetables and turkey sausage to lighten it up a bit.  The results were great- it can be done in less than 30 minutes (although you can simmer it longer to make the flavors meld more) and it was filling without being overwhelmingly heavy.  Pasta fagiole is kind of a cross between and soup, stew and pasta, and I chose to cook the pasta separately and ladle the beans over it- that way the pasta doesn’t get soggy.  A good sprinkling of Parmesan, and it’s ready to go.  You can easily omit the sausage and switch to chicken broth to make this vegetarian- you might just want to throw in another can of beans.  This makes great leftovers and can easily be doubled.  Serves 4 generously.

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil

1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice

2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4″ dice

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 t dried Italian seasoning

pinch red pepper flakes

3 links hot Italian turkey sausage

2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ dice

2 T tomato paste

3 c or more chicken or vegetable stock

2-14 oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 c fresh basil, roughly chopped

4 big handfuls spinach, roughly chopped (optional)

1 lb pasta such as rigatoni, ditalini, fusilli or orrechitte

Parmesan for sprinkling

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium high heat and add carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and sausage squeezed out of the casing.  Saute for 4-5 minutes until softened, breaking up the sausage into bite-size pieces.  Add chopped tomatoes and continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add tomato paste and stir constantly for about 2 minutes to thicken the mixture.  Turn up heat, add the chicken stock and beans, and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and keep at a simmer.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, partially covered, for 10 or more minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente according to package directions and drain, then set aside.

When pasta is ready and bean mixture has simmered for at least 10 minutes, add the spinach and stir until it has wilted.  Turn off the heat and stir in the basil.  Your beans should be liquidy, about the consistency of soupy black beans.  If they are too thick, add more broth or water to achieve the desired consistency.  Divide pasta among bowls, then ladle beans over pasta.  Top with Parmesan.

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