My grandmother was an amazing cook. The best things she made, however, were perhaps the simplest. Having grown up during the depression, she knew how to make a meal out of next to nothing and still have it taste incredible. This is one of her staples, she made it all the time. It’s a simple, comforting, classic soup – basic in nature, with the flavor shining through. The only addition she made was to occasionally add chopped escarole from the garden. Simple and perfect – pasta fagioli.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 teaspoon salt (you may need less depending on your tomatoes, be sure to taste as you go!)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 can great northern beans, drained
1 cup ditalini pasta, cooked (any small pasta will do – shells, elbows…)
2 – 16 ounce cans tomato sauce
1/2 – 1 tomato sauce can of water (depends on how thick you like it)
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
grated parmesan for serving
In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, celery and carrot – cook until the vegetables start to soften. Add in tomatoes, water and spices (check for salt here). Simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender and broth has developed its flavor from the vegetables. Add in the pasta and beans – heat through. Stir in the parsley and serve with grated parmesan. Enjoy!
I love this dish, not only because it reminds me of my grandmother, but it’s very budget friendly. The total recipe costs just under $2.00 and feeds about 6 people. It doesn’t take much to fill you up – perfect for stretching a dollar! At my grocery store you can buy pasta fagioli in a can for $1.79 (serves 2) – this tastes better and is much cheaper!
What are your favorite meatless meals? Are they recipes that have been handed down to you? I’d love to hear from you!