That original recipe, though, was for fewer servings, so I’ve adapted it over the years to accommodate numbers and appetites in my household. As I’ve mentioned before, my boys are chowhounds who can go through food like there’s no tomorrow.
This meal was a big favorite with them. I like it, too, because it’s quite quick and easy to make. It only takes about 20 minutes or so of prep time, and can be on the table in about 40 minutes.
It is also excellent as leftovers and freezes very well.
Here’s the recipe:
Makes 6-8 hearty servings
Prep Time – Approx. 20 minutes
Start to finish time – Approx. 40-50 minutes
(Total recipe cost – Approx. $8.00)
(Total per person meal cost with tossed salad and fresh bread – Approx. $1.50)
2-3 tablespoons canola cooking oil
3 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
1 large onion
3-4 15-16 ounce cans red or kidney beans, undrained
1½ cups uncooked small pasta, preferably whole grain (elbows, etc.)
4 cups water
1-2 vegetable bouillon cubes (or 1-2 teaspoons of salt)
1 28-32-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 10-ounce box or ⅔ of a 1 pound bag of frozen leaf spinach or kale
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon crushed rosemary
2 teaspoons dried parsley
¼ -½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan (optional)
Recipe continues after photos.
- If you did not take them out of the freezer to thaw earlier, thaw the 10-oz box or 1 pound of frozen spinach or kale in a microwavable container on low for 2-3 minutes. Set them aside until needed.
- Peel and dice the large onion.
- Wash and dice the 2 stalks of celery.
- Peel and chop or mince the 3 cloves of garlic and set them aside, separate from the onions and celery.
- Heat the 2-3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a 4-6 quart pot and add the diced onions and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the chopped garlic, the 1 teaspoon of oregano, the ½ teaspoon each of basil, thyme, and rosemary, the 2 teaspoons of dried parsley, and the ¼ -½ teaspoon of red pepper. Cook another 2 minutes or so, until the onions are translucent, and the celery is firm/tender, stirring frequently.
- Add the 4 cups of water, the 1-2 crumbled bouillon cubes, or the 1-2 teaspoons of salt, the 28-32 ounces of diced tomatoes, and the 6-ounce can of tomato paste. Stir occasionally until the bouillon cube is completely dissolved, if you're using them.
- Cover and allow to simmer on medium for about 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in the 1- 1½ cups of small pasta, re-cover the pan, and resume simmering.
- Cook for about 6-10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
- When the pasta is done to taste, stir in the 3-4 cans (depending on how many servings you want to get) of undrained red beans and the thawed spinach or kale. Cover and warm through over low heat for about 5-10 minutes.
- Serve the Pasta Fagioli in bowls, topped with fresh Parmesan cheese, if desired, and the tossed salad and a fresh loaf of whole grain bread for a great meal.