Pasta e Fagioli (translated from Italian to mean “pasta and beans”) is a traditional Italian dish, which like many other Italian dishes, varies from region to region and from household to household. Traditionally, it includes cannellini beans, a small pasta like ditalini, olive oil, garlic, carrots, onion, celery, and some form of tomato. The varieties can differ from thicker to thinner consistencies, and some contain meat, while others do not. This healthy pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) recipe is packed with flavor, and is a warm and comforting meal. Perfect on its own, or served alongside some rustic bread for dipping and a side salad.
What you’ll need to make this healthy pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans)
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Pancetta adds a lovely base flavor to this dish, but if you prefer to omit it, you can.
- You can also use prosciutto if you prefer to use a leaner pork product.
- olive oil spray
- white wine
- You’ll want to use a dry white wine here. If you prefer not to cook with wine, you can omit it.
- crushed tomatoes
- Canned, crushed tomatoes work best here (no salt added).
- low sodium chicken broth
- This is an important product, so that you can control the saltiness of this dish. If you use regular stock, this dish might be overly salty.
- canned cannellini beans
- Cannellini beans are also called white kidney beans, and are similar to white navy beans.
- I recommend using the canned version, to avoid having to soak your beans.
- The beans should be drained and rinsed before adding them to the soup.
- dried oregano
- kosher salt
- dried bay leaves
- ditalini pasta
- You can use any other small shape pasta, but I love the ditalini shape for this recipe.
- parmesan cheese
How to make healthy pasta e fagioli
Preheat the Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil spray, and then add the diced pancetta. Saute for 5 minutes. Chop the carrots, onions and celery, and mince the garlic. Add the carrots, onions and celery to the pancetta, and add more olive oil spray to the pot. Saute the vegetables for another 5 minutes or until tender, and then add the minced garlic. Cook the garlic for 1 minute or until just fragrant.
Next, add the wine and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth, along with the oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. In the meantime, drain and rinse the beans. Bring the liquid to a boil, and add the rinsed beans. Reduce the heat to medium/medium low, and simmer the soup uncovered for 20 minutes.
Next, remove the bay leaves and discard them. Then, remove 2 cups of the liquid and put it into a blender or food processor and blend it. Reserve to the side. * Note: this step helps add some creaminess to the soup, and thickens it up a bit. The pureed beans help with this consistency. You can skip this step if you want to, but I recommend it for that creamy texture. Add the dry pasta to the soup, and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes or until tender. Then, add the reserved pureed liquid and the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine, and taste for seasoning.
Healthy Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)
- dutch oven or large pot
- food processor or blender
- 1 oz pancetta, diced
- olive oil spray
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 oz ditalini pasta, uncooked, weighed dry (1 cup)
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil spray to the pot.
- Add the diced pancetta and saute for 5 minutes to render some fat.
- Chop the carrots, celery and onion. Mince the garlic.
- Add more olive oil spray to the pot, and then add the chopped carrots, celery and onion to the pancetta.
- Saute the vegetables for 5 minutes, and then add the minced garlic.
- Saute the garlic for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the wine and let it cook down for about 2-3 minutes. Then, add the tomatoes and broth.
- Add the oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Stir.
- Bring the liquid to a boil.
- In the meantime, drain and rinse the beans.
- Add the beans to the boiling liquid.
- Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the liquid for about 20 minutes.
- Remove 2 cups of the liquid (including the beans and vegetables) - remove the bay leaves and discard.
- Pour the 2 cups of the liquid into a food processor or blender; blend and set aside.
- Add the pasta to the remaining unblended liquid in the pot, and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.
- Add the blended reserved liquid and the cheese to the pot, stir to combine. Taste for seasoning.
- 3 WW points
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