When I was a child, every summer I would spend a month or so with my Grandparents, Mum & Hank. I spent that time playing rummy, gardening, going to yard sales, reading in a hammock in the back yard, sewing, and the most memorable, eating. I remember that Mum cooked the BEST food, and looking back I believe what made it so good was how simple everything was. One of my favorites was Toasted Cheese on Homemade Bread with Tomatoes, still warm from the summer sun. She also made AMAZING spaghetti sauce, RIDICULOUSLY good Cherry Jam, DELICIOUS Apple Pie, and PERFECT Lemon Italian Cookies, which I now call “MUMSIES”, a favorite at the Bakery. Pasta Fagioli is another recipe of hers which I am lucky enough to have. Every time I make it, my house is filled with the smell of time spent with her. I am so, SO grateful to her for instilling in me my great love of food. This recipe is great any time of year but is perfect for these cold winter months. As a traditional “peasant dish”, it is not only yummy but very affordable. Plus, it’s a favorite with both kids and adults. I am so happy I get to share Mum’s love with all of you!
PASTA FAGIOLI (Pasta and Beans)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Onion (Chopped)
2/3 Cup Celery (Chopped)
2/3 Cup Carrots (Chopped)
3 Cloves of Garlic (or more, depending on how much you love garlic, in our case, its usually more like 5 or 6 Cloves)
1 Quart of Tomatoes, (Chopped) or 1 28 ounce can of San Marzano Crushed Tomatoes
***When Mum was writing this recipe she was using tomatoes that she grew in her Garden and then canned in quart jars along with my Grandfather, Hank. Those were the days…***
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1-2 cups Vegetable Stock, depending on how you like your Pasta Fagioli
1 Can Cannellini Beans
1 Cup Ditalini Pasta
Shredded Pecorino Romano (Optional)
2 Cups chopped Kale Greens (Optional, this is my own personal addition to the recipe, I like to add in Healthy Greens wherever I can)
In a Soup Pot or Dutch oven, Turn your stove to Medium and use the Olive Oil to coat the bottom. Add the chopped Onion, Carrots and Celery, and cook until soft, around 8-10 minutes.
Add the Garlic and cook for a few minutes more.
Add the tomatoes, the Vegetable Stock, the undrained Beans and your seasoning. Let simmer on your stove until thickened and the flavors blend together.
Cook the Macaroni and add to the Tomato mixture. At the point you can also add greens, I like to throw in some chopped Kale, because it’s so good for you and makes a great addition to a hearty dish. Top with your favorite shredded Italian Cheese. My go to Cheese is Pecorino Romano. Eat with delicious Homemade Italian Bread, East Side of course!!