Pasta e Fagioli

IMG_8881This is that pasta dish with the funny looking and funny sounding name, but it doesn’t taste funny; in fact, it’s quite delicious. Pasta fagioli means pasta with beans, and is traditionally served without meat. I’m not gonna do that.

If you look at the picture you’ll notice the fagioli aren’t visible. It’s there, but it’s mixed in with the sauce. I thought the recipe was crazy when it said to take the beans and puree them before adding them to the sauce. But, like the good ISTJ that I am, I followed the recipe and I’m glad that I did. It made the sauce thick, smooth, creamy without the calories from adding cream. Plus, cannellini are protein-rich, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. The fiber in particular helps to promote healthy cholesterol levels and lower cholesterol.

And while we’re talking about health, there’s also tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions and spinach in this dish. Lots of veggies for health. I opted to use chicken sausage for this dish to continue the healthy eating theme here. This pasta fagioli is not only good for you, but it tastes real good as well.

It’s packed with vegetables, packed with fiber and packed with flavor. Eat up!

Pasta e Fagioli
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chicken Sausage and orecchiette pasta, in a tomato cannellini bean "bolognese" sauce, with spinach
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian, Pasta
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 1½ cups mirepoix (chopped celery, carrots and onions)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ tsp italian seasoning (or just thyme, oregano and basil)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 small pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 14-ounce can cannellini beans
  • 1 qt chicken broth
  • 1 lb small pasta (orecchiette, ditalini or tubetti)
  • 8 oz fresh baby spinach
  • shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for topping
Instructions
  1. Remove the chicken from its casing, then brown the chicken sausage over medium high heat in a heavy bottom casserole. Remove the sausages from the pan to a bowl with a slotted spoon, discard the extra fat.
  2. Next, puree the San Marzano tomatoes and sauce in a food processor and return back to the can for use later. Drain the cannellini beans, then puree them in the food processor until very smooth. If the bean puree is still too chunky, add a ½ cup of water and puree until smooth.
  3. Saute the mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery), italian herbs, salt, pepper, bay leaf, red pepper flakes (optional), in a little olive oil until the vegetables become soft and fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the pureed tomatoes, pureed beans, tomato paste and chicken broth to the casserole. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken sausage and pasta and then simmer for another 15 minutes or until the pasta has reached al dente stage.
  6. Add the spinach, mix well and let the spinach leaves wilt into the pasta and sauce.
  7. Serve with shaved cheese and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from A Pinch of Yum.

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