Sunday, October 04, 2009

Pasta Fagioli

My spark bestie Heather gave all her blog friends a challenge a week or so ago to participate in a soup swap. I immediately didn't want to participate because I don't really like soup that much, and also I suck at making it! Seriously, for some reason - all the soups I make are not that good. But then I remembered I had a Pasta Fagioli recipe in my recipe book that I was dying to make. So, I decided I would make this sometime before her deadline! Luckily while grocery shopping yesterday I remembered I needed to buy the ingrediants for it and I made it tonight!

The recipe is from Cooking Light - click here to see it.

Now as you may or may not know yet, I don't really follow recipes well. In fact, I'd rather just make up my own recipe. Typically even with a new recipe like this, I just use the recipe as a baseline for ingrediants to add and basic method of cooking. I often pick and choose from the ingrediants and sub what I like, as well as cook it my own way. This time though, knowing that I haven't ever made a soup that I liked and that I was going to post the how-to on here, I decided to follow the instructions and ingrediants as much as I could handle it. So I only made a few subs, feel free to just skip my how-to with the pretty pictures and make it for yourself! :)

Make sure you cook this in layers though like both cooking light and myself have done. If you cook in layers, you develop the maximum flavor and cooking from each item, thus making your dish DELICIOUS. Think about adding everything together in a pot.. some things are bound to be undercooked while others overcooked and all the flavors will be boring. Trust me on this!

  • EVOO
  • 1/2 onion - chopped
  • Garlic
  • Sausage (I used chicken sausage, more on this later)
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I used unsalted)
  • 1 cup small WW pasta - preferably shell shaped (I used pipe rigate)
  • 2 Zucchini - diced
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes undrained
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 can kidney (red) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
1. Like any recipe of mine you'll ever see, I started with a large stock pot with some EVOO heating and a big cutting board of chopped onion and minced garlic. If you recall my last recipe, I usually grate my garlic. But since this was going to cook down in a soup, I just minced. Once the oil was heated, I added the onion and garlic and let them sweat it out a little.


2. While your onions and garlic are cooking, take your sausage and cut them out of the casings. You want to pick a sausage that is not cooked yet and in a casing for this recipe. To cut it out of the casing, just slice a knife along the length of the sausage and pull the casing off. The sausage will kind of sit in a bit lump and you will be able to ground it in your onion/garlic mixture. I bought homemade sausages in the deli section of Central Market (think Whole Foods) that were Hot Italian Chicken Sausages. They were INCREDIBLE and I can't imagine making this recipe with anything else. Forget whatever cooking light tells you - make this with hot italian sausage!


Sans casings

Cooking up in the nectar of the gods - EVOO, garlic and onion :)

3. Okay, once your sausage is brown you're ready to add the chicken broth and the pasta. Remember, your sausage doesn't have to be 100% cooked since it's going to continue cooking in the soup. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup dry pasta, but that didn't seem like enough for me. I added 1 cup pasta and 3 cups chicken stock (you'll see the extra 1 cup from above later). I use this rockin' unsalted chicken stock that is incredible. The sausage has enough sodium for this entire recipe, so really you can use an unsalted stock here and be fine on your salt levels. Try to find this stuff if you can - I use it for EVERYTHING.

 Pasta and chicken stock are in!

4. Now, the instructions tell you to bring this up to a boil then cover it and let simmer for 4 minutes. This is just what I did! Next after you do this, you want to add your zucchini and your can of stewed tomatoes and all the liquid from that can.

Look at all those veggies!

Unfortunately, I fear my extra 1/2 cup of pasta is taking up a lot of the room these veggies were supposed to take. So I added an extra cup of broth to make up for it.

Literally, seconds later. SO MUCH BETTER.

5. You're going to cover this and let it simmer for 2 minutes. After you do that, add your seasonings and your beans. You are now supposed to let this simmer for another 3 or something minutes or until everything is tender. We weren't hungry yet and I wanted this to be extra tender, so I turned the heat way down and let it simmer another 15-20 minutes. It was perfection at this point.


Beans and spices are in.

After the extra simmer. Look how good that looks!

6. You're all done now! You just need to serve it up and add some shredded parmesan cheese on top! This pot made 6 servings for me and I added 1 TBSP of shredded parmesan to the top of each bowl.

My bowl!



Seriously, I can't say enough about this soup. It was INCREDIBLE! I honestly don't know what I would do differently next time, and that's saying a lot because I mostly followed the original recipe and I usually have a million changes to make! It was SO filling. Seriously. This entire bowl was my dinner and it was only 275 calories for the whole thing (cheese included!). I can't think of any time in my entire life I've been full from that few calories for more than 2 hours. I ate this 3 hours ago and I'm completely satisified right now!

Here are the full nutritional stats per serving, 6 servings for the recipe: Cals: 276; Fat: 8g total, 2g saturated; 32g carbs; 19g protein; 181g potassium; 12g calcium; 642g sodium; 7g fiber

Definitely, definitely try this. And if you do and make any changes - please let me know so I can try them! I was thinking about adding some shredded carrots next time.

Also here is my lovely breakfast from today - I made homemade french toast, turkey bacon and 2 kiwis on the side. The french toast was WW bread, dipped in egg beaters, skim milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and flax meal. It was super super good! I'm really not a big turkey bacon fan, but we had some in the freezer that needed to be eaten, so I just made it all and we all split it. Next time, I think I'll buy center cut!

Yummy syrup on the side for dipping!



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