In my defense, there weren’t many other options. No party invitations; no tantalizing fried food spreads; no triple-layer cheese dips; no Pinterest cookie-dough-meets-cheesecake-meets-brownie creations. I would have welcomed any and all of those with an open mind and mouth. But no.
All I had was a well-stocked pantry and an aversion to supermarket showdowns. So I made do.
This pasta e fagioli (Italian pasta and bean soup) is a pure and simple blend of ingredients that I always have on hand, and
It’s rich, comforting, and hearty. The base is an oregano- and bay-seasoned tomato broth, and it’s packed with kidney beans, Ditalini pasta, sautéed onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.
Let’s put it this way: It’s so delicious that I’m now completely in acceptance of my being incredibly uncool. And that says quite a bit about a soup. And even more about me.
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 bay leaves
1 cup small shaped pasta such as shells, ditalini, or elbows
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring frequently, for until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and stir constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, broth, kidney beans, and bay leaves. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Add the pasta in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Add the salt and pepper and stir. Discard bay leaves, stir in parsley and serve, sprinkling each serving bowl with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.