Pasta e Fagioli is just what you need on a cold dreary day. A stick to your ribs comfort food that is full of flavor. Anchovies, pancetta and a parmesan cheese rind contribute to a fabulous soup that comes together in just a few minutes. Great for a weeknight dinner.
I’ve never been to Italy when it’s cold, so I don’t know how close this version is to the real deal. Regardless, it’s pretty good. I tried this because I wanted to make a soup using my left over frozen parmesan cheese rinds. I’ve heard it adds depth to broth based soups so this sounded like a good recipe to experiment with. Mine had just a little cheese left on it so when I took it out of the pot at the end, the gooey cheese left on the rind was fantastic.
Not only does this recipe use the cheese rind but it has anchovies in it. I like the salty flavor anchovies add to a caesar salad but I’m not going to eat them by themselves. I’ve never seen them in a soup recipe so I was a little skeptical. I promise, no one will know you added anchovies. They do add to the depth of flavors you have with this soup. The combination of the cheese rind, pancetta, and anchovies, all contribute to a fabulous flavor that is absorbed by the pasta. I used my favorite shape, orecchiette. This is pretty hearty with not a lot of broth. Perfect for a rainy or cold night in. The soup comes together so quickly that you can easily make this for dinner during the week.
Pasta e Fagioli
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 ounces pancetta
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 rib celery chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 anchovy fillets minced to paste
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes
- parmesan cheese rind 5 by 2 inches
- 30 ounce cannellini beans 2 cans, drained and rinsed
- 3 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 ½ cups water water
- 8 ounces pasta
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 3 ounces parmesan cheese grated
- Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally until it begins to brown, 3-5 minutes. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic oregano, pepper flakes and anchovies. Cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with liquid, scraping up brown bits from the bottom. Add the cheese rind and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth, water and a teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 10 minutes depending on the shape of the pasta.
- Discard the cheese rind. Turn off the heat and add 3 tablespoons of parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated parmesan and parsley.