Meatless Mondays: Easy Pasta Fazool
Why not? About time I got on the Meatless Mondays bandwagon, and after doing the Curried Lentils and Rice last week, I might as well make it an actual trend.
Pasta Fazool is my favorite “garbage soup” recipe–I go through the crisper drawer to see what’s starting to turn, and chop it up and throw it into the soup. It’s also one of the easiest variations on my staple “can of diced tomatoes plus can of broth plus whatever else equals soup” recipe. (The one I call “ur-soup.” Honk if you know what “ur” means.)
It doesn’t have to be meatless–from time to time I’ll throw a handful of chicken or a chopped up sausage in there, but usually only when there’s leftovers that need eating–it’s just as good from a purely veggie standpoint. And you could use any other grain in lieu of pasta, or just leave it out; my kids are constantly not finishing their pasta for dinner, so we periodically have little containers of not-enough-pasta-to-do-anything-with, so I toss them into the soup.
Of course, if you leave out the pasta, I guess it’s not pasta fazool any more…
Easy Pasta Fazool
- In a saucepan, saute a chopped onion in a little olive oil till soft; add a clove or two minced or crushed garlic and saute till golden and fragrant. (I love it when recipes, in the context of garlic, talk about doing something to it “till fragrant.” Is garlic ever not fragrant?)
- Add other veggies as desired–cut up bell pepper, squash, eggplant, carrots, celery, whatever. (NOT spinach!) Saute till just softening.
- Pour in a can of diced tomatoes and a can of broth; whatever broth you like is fine. Heat to simmer
- Add a can of white beans, drained.
- Season with a pinch or two each oregano, thyme, and/or basil. (NOTE: If you like the taste of Italian sausage but want to go veggie, take about a half-teaspoon fennel seed, crush or chop lightly with a knife, and add. This gives the soup that “sausagy” flavor!)
- Let simmer 10-30 minutes, depending on when you feel like eating.
- 5-10 minutes before serving, add a cup or so cooked pasta. Also a good time, if you wish, to dump in 1/4 cup or so prepared pasta sauce; this thickens and corrects the seasonings nicely, but is not essential.
- 3 minutes before serving, if desired, add a handful frozen spinach and/or a tablespoon prepared basil pesto sauce.
- Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan, if desired.
Good stuff–like I said, it’s one of our essential “staple” meals through autumn and winter. This is our first time since last spring eating it, since summer doesn’t feel like soup weather–but it was nice to get back to an old friend.