Pasta e Fagioli

Tonight turned out to be one of those days where a quick meal had to be prepared. In fact, we had tickets to see an opera in HD at the movie cinema, set up by the MET opera. Has anyone gone out to see an opera? It is sure cheaper than going to the opera house and you definitely do not have to pay for parking. Oh I forgot! You also get to buy popcorn and a drink while watching the opera singers belt out their notes! What a deal. Here is a snippet of a song we heard performed tonight. I sang this piece back in college being a coloratura, but I am more of a lyric soprano now.

I know many people have heard me mention all day that I wanted minestrone, minestrone, minestrone, but at the end, I ended up preparing pasta e fagioli, or otherwise known as pasta and beans. As I looked at different recipes and ideas, I knew I was heading more towards a heavy beans and pasta dish than a broth-based soup. I remember ordering Pasta e Fagioli at Olive Garden often, but then I was confused. Their recipe was more broth-based. As I looked up definitions of both minestrone and pasta e fagioli, I knew there was a difference, and my recipe surely needed to be different. From what I read, minestrone is a hodgepodge of items thrown in a tomato-based broth, whereas pasta e fagioli was heavy on the pasta and beans.

Have you ever craved something and you prepared and it did not turn out exactly how you imagined? Thank God this is not what happened to me. I tried different ingredients and spices and PRESTO, my pasta e fagioli recipe turned out scrumptious!

I think I have mentioned before that I tend to be intimidated when it comes to preparing soups or stews. I grew up eating all kinds of delicious and flavorful soups created by my mother. I have also eaten many flavorless soups outside of my home. My mother does not document her recipes, but manages to make each soup the same way each time. My husband is not a fan of soups, as I have mentioned before but if I can pass it by him more like a hearty stew then I win, you know. This was the case with this dish. We both ate 2 bowls of it and sighed at the end. There is nothing like a quick and delicious meal before heading out to the cold weather. Enjoy!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Pasta e Fagioli

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serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1 cup eggplant, seeded and diced
1 1/2 mustard greens, chopped
1 cup dentali pasta (Tube-like)
1 can Northern Beans
1/2 cup Boca meatless ground crumbles
14 ounces ground, peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup Pace Picante mild sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 Vegan bouillon cube
3 cups water
1 tsp basil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp Herb de Provence (rosemary, thyme,marjoram,basil, oregano, and lavender)

In a medium pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Sauté diced onions, carrots, eggplant and red pepper for 5-10 minutes or until onions are transparent. Add garlic, ground tomatoes, picante sauce, beans and crumbles to vegetables and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, dissolve bouillon cube with 1 cup of hot water. Add to the pot and add remaining 2 cups of water.

Add spices from salt down to Herb de Provence. Bring stew to a slight boil so that flavors can combine. Cook for 10 more minutes.

Add 1 cup of pasta and cook for the remaining 10 minutes until pasta is cooked through. Serve and enjoy.

This will be a thick stew, but it you want more broth, add another cup of water and adjust salt for taste.