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For A Warming Winter Meal, Try This Healthy Pasta e Fagioli

Melanie Lionello
Food writer & nutritionist
By Melanie Lionello
Food writer & nutritionist
Melanie Lionello is a food writer, nutritionist, and author of the cookbook Frugal Mediterranean Cooking.
Image by Melanie Lionello / Contributor
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December 18, 2020

In 2019, I visited Bologna with my good friend Camilla. It was November, so it was dreary, and it rained the whole time. But it really didn't bother us because we found so much comfort in bowl after bowl of pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans).

We wandered into this jam-packed, hole-in-the-wall restaurant filled with students and locals alike and squeezed ourselves into a tiny table while furiously taking off our wet, soggy layers of clothing.

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We quickly ordered lunch and wine (of course) and proceeded to "ooh" and "aah" over every bite of our veggie- and olive-oil-laden bowls. We walked out of there with full bellies and flushed cheeks, having only parted with a few euros each. The best kind of lunch, if you ask me. To make this version, the cost per serving rings up at only $1.15.

Pasta e Fagioli

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 celery ribs, including the leaves, finely diced
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6¼ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup passata (tomato puree)
  • 2 14-oz. cans borlotti beans
  • 2 Parmesan rinds (optional)
  • 7 oz. pasta of your choice
  • Salt and cracked pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
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Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan and sauté the onion, celery, and potatoes over medium heat until the onion is translucent and softened.
  2. Add the stock, passata, beans, and Parmesan rinds (if using), and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. Remove the Parmesan rinds and season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Reprinted with permission from Frugal Mediterranean Cooking by Melanie Lionello, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Melanie Lionello
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Melanie Lionello
Melanie Lionello
Food writer & nutritionist

Melanie Lionello is a food writer, blogger, and author of the cookbook Frugal Mediterranean Cooking. She studied for a Bachelor of Human Nutrition and Bachelor of Human Nutrition with Honors (Hons I) at La Trobe University in Melbourne and her background in food science helps her understand how ingredients work together and informs her process for recipe development.