Pasta e fagioli

A nice, chunky, warming dish made with potato, beans and pasta for these cold evenings from Good Housekeeping Step by Step Vegetarian Cookbook. It came out thicker than I expected, as in the colour index it says it’s somewhere between a stew and a hearty soup which I suppose it is, but you only need a fork to eat it, not a spoon.

PASTA 001 Pasta e fagioli (vegan if the cheese is omitted)
Serves 6

1 onion
1 leek
1 carrot
1 large potato
2 celery sticks
60ml (4 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
10ml (2 tsp) chopped fresh thyme
5ml (1 tsp) finely chopped fresh rosemary
500g (1 lb 2 oz) carton passata
600ml (1 pint) vegetable stock
225g (8oz) small conchiglie or ditali pasta
two 400g (14oz) cans borlotti beans, drained
60ml (4 tbsp) chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper

TO SERVE

75g (3 oz) Parmesan-style cheese, freshly grated
a little extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Peel and chop the onion; slice the leek; peel and dice the carrot and potato; dice the celery.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan, add the onion, leek, carrot, potato, celery, garlic and herbs and fry gently for 10 minutes until softened slightly, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking.
  3. Add the passata and stock.  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile add the pasta to a large pan of lightly salted boiling water and cook for 5-6 minutes until al dente (tender but firm to the bite).  Drain and immediately refresh under cold water.  Drain well and toss with a little olive oil.
  5. Add the beans to the stew.  cover and cook for a further 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Stir in the pasta and basil, heat through and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spoon into warmed bowls and sprinkle generously with Parmesan-style cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil to serve.
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