I felt it the other night: an ever-so-slight chill in the air. Soft winds, hinting of summer’s end and fall’s approach.
School starts in Oregon next week. The start of school signals the unofficial start of fall for me. Fall equals school lunches, sweaters and tall boots, and soup weather!
Here’s an easy pasta fagioli recipe that I made up from combinations of different soups I’ve made over the years. Can you feel the warmth rising from these photos? The rich deliciousness of hearty sausage, beans, and pasta combo swimming tightly in a sea of tasty tomatos and broth?
This is a dish that looks like fall, smells like fall, and tastes like fall. Pure cozy, comfy fall goodness.
- 3-4 Italian sausages casings removed
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3 small to medium-sized garlic cloves minced
- 2 cans 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cans 14 oz chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 can of cannellini beans drained
- 1.5 cups ditalini shells, or other small pasta
- 1/4 cup chopped spinach
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- grated parmesan cheese for topping
- In a large stockpot or 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the Italian sausage meat, breaking it up with a spoon into smaller bits as you continually stir.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage meat and place aside in a bowl.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add olive oil to the remaining sausage drippings and cook onions until tender and golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook about 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and stir for 1 minute.
- Increase heat to high, then add chicken broth, salt, beans, and 2 cups water, then stir occasionally and heat until the water comes to a slight boil.
- Reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a separate medium pot, cook pasta according to directions. Drain pasta; set aside.
- Add sausage meat back into the stockpot/Dutch oven containing the soup mixture, and heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Right before you are ready to serve, stir in spinach, basil, and cooked pasta, then top with as much or as little grated parmesan cheese as you like.
* This can easily be made into a vegetarian soup by omitting the sausage. If you like your soup heartier and decide to omit sausage, I would then also cut down on the amount of broth and water.
* Feel free to use any shaped small pasta that you prefer. Ditalini is a fantastic choice, but as you can see from the photos, I used small shells during this cooking session.
* You may also prefer slightly less pasta and less beans; I love a hearty pasta fagioli versus a more liquid pasta fagioli, but I know others whose tastes run the opposite direction.