Pasta and bean soup is one of the distinctive dishes I can remember my grandmother making when I was growing up. While not as glamorous as a lasagna or pizza, this dish is delicious, hearty and a welcome lunch or dinner on a cold winters day.
While not my grandmother’s recipe, this one is inspired by Tom Valenti’s recipe in The Essential New York Times Cook Book. A technique I particularly like from this recipe is that it calls for the potatoes to be mashed once cooked, and then added back to the soup. As you can see below this recipe uses 4 cups of water and this process transforms the soup, thickening it up and absorbing some of the oil from the bacon.
I think the vegetables used in this recipe could most definitely be adapted based on what you have in your fridge. I would also say the bacon is optional, and smoked paprika could be used to add a depth of flavour.
It’s a simple, quick and delicious meal, and took no more than an hour to prepare and cook.
Pasta and Bean Soup
Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes
Storage: Serve immediately, or store freeze individual servings and reheat.
30ml olive oil
150g smoked bacon
1 carrot, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 gloves garlic, crushed
Handful green beans, washed and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 cup pasta (ditalini is traditional but I used macaroni as I had it in the cupboard)
2 x 400g tins of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 whole potatoes, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Pinch fresh rosemary chopped
- Heat the oil and cook the bacon for about 5 minutes.
- Add the carrot, onion, garlic, celery, green beans and stir for about five minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables and bacon.
- Add the vegetable stock and water, as well as salt, pepper, and oregano to taste. Add one or two bay leaves as desired.
- Bring the soup to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the potatoes and mash. Leave to side.
- Add the pasta until cooked.
- Stir through the potato and add the beans. Cook until the beans are heated (5 minutes).
- Remove from heat, stir through the rosemary and serve. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil and some additional rosemary.