Pasta E Fagioli (Soup or is It Stew?)

Recipe by ForeverMama
READY IN: 3hrs




  • Soak the beans in water to cover overnight.
  • Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Cook the bacon (if using) in the olive oil until it starts to brown.
  • Add the onion and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add 5 crushed garlic cloves and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock (refer to note # 1 below). Add drained beans and add to the pot.
  • Let it come to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook approximately 1 ½ hours or until beans are tender and cooked through.
  • Meanwhile cook pasta shells as instructed per package directions; set aside.
  • Once the beans are tender, add the Essence Seasoning, more or less to taste (refer to note # 2 below) and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove bacon from the pot.
  • Also remove and reserve half of the cooked beans for garnish (or remove about 3/4 if you like more whole beans in your soup).
  • Ladle the remaining beans and liquid into a blender or food processor, puree until smooth. Or if you own a hand-held-blender, puree the beans right in the pot, (If too thick, add more hot chicken stock until you reach the consistency of your choice). Check for seasoning.
  • Mix in the reserved cooked pasta shells.
  • In a small saute pan, heat the remaining 1/3 c olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the remaining 6 crushed cloves or garlic and cook for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn (if it browns, the garlic will impart a bitter taste).
  • Add the oregano and rosemary and sauté for 1 - 2 minutes. Let stand (You can make this oil 1 - 2 days ahead of time).
  • Strain and reserved the flavored oil. Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle in some of the reserved beans. Drizzle with a spoonful of the oregano-rosemary oil and serve. If you desire, serve with grated parmesan and crusty bread.
  • NOTE # 1: When cooking beans, never add salt before they are cooked through. It will toughen the beans. Always add the salt only when beans are tender. Keeping this in mind, if you use chicken bouillon or a stock that already contains salt, make sure you add bouillon cubes after beans are tender because bouillon contains salt. Substitute the chicken stock for water at the beginning of the recipe if bouillion is what you are using.
  • Essence: Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup.
  • NOTE # 2: Only use enough Essence to flavor soup as noted. Please DO NOT use the full measure. Store the rest for future use. This seasoning is terrific on many other dishes.