Pasta e fagioli

This one comes from the current issue of Everyday Food; it jumped out at me as I was planning this week’s menu with an eye toward alternating meatless dinners (this week we’ve had white bean and kale soup, parmesan-crusted chicken tenders, spinach frittata, and turkey meatballs with pasta).

Pasta e fagioli is a traditional meatless Italian dish; the translation is “pasta and beans.” This version is a pretty rustic tomato-based vegetable stew. I calculated the Weight Watchers PointsPlus for this dish and was shocked that it’s 5 points for approximately one cup, being that it’s mostly vegetables and there’s one cup of pasta for eight servings. But whatevs. Weight Watchers knows best. It’s a pretty light dish, I have to say. While I thought it was quite tasty, I felt compelled to have a piece of cheese toast with it to bring it up to “hearty” status.

Matt is not a huge fan of light/healthy dinners. Last night was no exception. He ate his entire dish, making yummy noises to set a good example for the children, while also giving me a facetious thumbs-up and making pointed comments like, “Mmmm… HEALTHY.”

“And crunchy.” (Yes, some of the veges were a bit al dente.)

Finally, as he scraped his dish clean, he said, “You know what this needs? Some heavy cream.”

“Or a Bechamel.”

“Some Fontina.”

“And some shaved prosciutto.”

Har dee har har. I try to feed my family healthy food and this is the thanks I get! Harrison finally ate a few bites and claimed that it was really yummy, but did not eat more than three or four spoonfuls. I showed him, though, and put some in his lunch today! HA!

The recipe as printed calls for an optional Parmesan rind (which you remove after cooking) and a garnish of freshly shaved Parmesan, a neither of which I had on hand. But let me tell you, this stew SCREAMS for the Parmesan. Don’t skip it, unless you’re trying to be virtuous. Or vegan.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m damning this dish with faint praise. I really, really liked it and will have leftovers for lunch. I just wish it had been appealing to the other 75% of my family. But that’s not the recipe’s fault.

Pasta e fagioli
adapted slightly from Everyday Food

3 celery stalks, diced medium
2 carrots, diced medium
1 small red onion, diced medium
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig oregano
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2.5 c vegetable broth
1 c mini penne
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

Heat oil over medium in a soup pot. Add celery, carrots, onion, and garlic. Cook until veges are soft, about 12 minutes. Add oregano, tomatoes, and broth. Increase heat to high (unless you’re using something like a Le Creuset, then adjust heat according to the pot’s care instructions) and simmer until the liquid thickens a bit, about 5 minutes. Add pasta and cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Add beans and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve with freshly shaved Parmesan (or not!) and a nice crusty bread.

Leave a comment


  1. phrogmom

     /  December 10, 2010

    sounds yummy! we do meatless dinners here too. do you like everyday food magazine?

    • boxingoctopus

       /  December 10, 2010

      I do like Everyday Food for the most part, although sometimes I find I have to adjust their seasoning recommendations, portions, and cook times.

  2. Jen

     /  December 10, 2010

    I tried this recipe this week too as my kids are huge fans of anything with beans (or pasta). For my two cents, I prefer the recipe in Kim O’s meatless cookbook. Luckily, the hubster here is doing WW too, so he’s more receptive to my light/healthy/meatless cooking of late.

    • boxingoctopus

       /  December 10, 2010

      Jen, I will have to try Kim’s recipe! In fact, I need to try a few of her recipes. Perhaps I will even blog them!


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