About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« White Bean Soup with Garlic and Parsley | Main | Aquacotta-Tuscan Peasant Soup with Cabbage and Beans »

Pasta e Fagioli - Pasta and Bean Soup

In the voice of Bob Sheppard, "Now cooking for Michele, number 99 - Kim Riemann." Okay - don't know who Bob Sheppard is? Well, then that reference is lost on you (the rest of you get it right?) - basically, I'm "pinch-hitting" for Michele this week and her assignment is to make Pasta e Fagioli soup.

I'm no stranger to Pasta e Fagioli soup (known around these parts as Pasta Fajola or a little further northeast, Pasta Fazool - no, I'm not kidding), it's one of our favorites (always stop at the Carnivale Italiano for the local Italian ladies version every summer - though that's definitely not Pasta Fagioli weather - but I digress). So when I saw the opportunity to snag this recipe help Michele out, I jumped at it.

The first difference I noticed between what I've made (or eaten) in the past is the bean Marcella uses. She's a fan of the cranberry bean while here I've seen the red kidney bean (and sometimes even the cannellini bean) used though she does say that red kidney beans would be an acceptable substitute. Now the thing you should know about Cranberry beans (and unfortunately, I could not find them fresh this time of year, so I went with the dried version), is they go by other names (see Cook's Thesaurus - Beans for further explanation) but the one I know them as is Roman (aka Roma) Beans (at least according to Goya). So that's what I went with. They're basically a pinkish bean with a stripe.

The second difference between Marcella's version and mine, she uses pork rib meats (and I was never quite clear what I was supposed to do with those ribs once I completed the soup - I nibbled on one, Fala enjoyed some meat off one of the others), while I use some ground Italian sausage (turkey usually), as a base.

Other than that it's pretty similar to the soups I've made - a bit of a soffrito (celery, onion and carrot) as a base, along with the aforementioned bones, homemade beef broth, which I actually did as opposed to the canned variety I usually use (hey that reminds me - has anyone posted about making the homemade broth/stock?), and at the very end the pasta. She recommends maltagliati (homemade) or any tubular macaroni (I used elbows because we always have them on hand for mac and cheese). That pasta has to go in at the end (and don't cook it for too long afterward), because it just soaks up that broth like a sponge. For leftovers the next day, I added a bit more broth to thin it out but I'd also like to note that the Italian Club Ladies Auxilliary serves theirs almost like a stew at the Carnivale (no broth in site after those macaroni have been sitting in those crockpots all day long).

Lastly, how did it taste? Pretty darn good - because of that homemade broth, it definitely had a richer flavor than my version with canned broth. Though I do have to admit, I did miss my bit of sausage in there. I'll make it again, though a bit of a lighter version (skip the butter at the end next time) as I'm watching my girlish figure and unfortunately, it's getting easier and easier to watch.

Now, here's where you're going to kill me as the sub. I had a bit of a camera misfortune, and my shots (which probably weren't any good anyway), got erased. And yes, while I'd like to blame it on one of my kids or my husband it was my stupidity that led to their destruction (I'll probably never be invited back to cook again). But ... I did remember I had some left over cranberry beans that I photographed for y'all, just so I'd at least have one shot, and you would all know what they look like.

cranberry bean


Comments (9)

Kim, you are so funny. I hope you sub for us a lot. Wanna do all of my items I dislike, like chicken livers?


What are you supposed to do with the chicken livers? I could be interested. :)

It's Fazool in these parts, too! Great post, Kim!
Now, can we talk about tripe?


Great post!


3 cheers for Kim!

Marcella Hazan:

The taste of cranberry beans, reminiscent of chestnuts, is unique. The bean has become much more available since I originally wrote that recipe, and it is sold online (try Chefshop) or even at good specialty grocers, often labeled borlotti, its Italian name. I can find tins of them even here in Sarasota, which is more of a middle-western enclave than an international culinary center.


I made this yesterday as a warm-up to my debut next Wednesday - also used pork ribs - removed the meat from the ribs & left them in the soup - figured that was OK, since one option was a couple of pork chops. But I used canned broth, not homemade. OK result, will make it again.

"hey that reminds me - has anyone posted about making the homemade broth/stock?". I have on my blog (you can click my name). I'm trying hard but it's not something I'm making often - although I do make chicken stock for french style vegetable soups. I don't know why I haven't made it more - I think it's because I'm not used to buying that much meat for a broth (although I use a whole chicken for my chicken stock).

I want to make it more often though to work my way through the soups. And to make risotto using broth (Marcella is quite particular about this).

Deborah responds:
David, you're in the middle of winter now, aren't you. Soup weather for sure. We've been following Marcella's instructions exactly as we've cooked through the book, so all of us are making homemade when she calls for it.
We encourage you to give the meat broth a try. It freezes well, so make enough for several recipes while you're at it.


In Marcella's first cookbook (Classic Italian Cooking) she recommends white beans (Great Northern) and that is how I learned to make it. It also opened the world of dried beans to me. I now make it with either bean and it is the best Pasta Fagioli ever!!!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 5, 2010 6:00 AM.

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