Call it what you will; Pasta Fazool, Pasta Fazoola, Pasta e Fagiolo, Pasta Fagioli, but the Italian soup immortalized in the Dean Martin song “That’s Amore” with the lyrics “When the stars makes you drool, just-a like pasta fazool, that’s amore” is a simple to make and an extremely flavorful Italian peasant soup of pasta and beans.
My first memory of Pasta Fazool was a winter afternoon when I was a child doing my homework on a Sunday afternoon at the kitchen table. Mom served me a bowl of Pasta Fazool and I was hooked. The soup is simple, yet is so flavorful and my mother’s version is so light hat it is difficult to stop at one bowl. I am willing the wager that in every Italian Kitchen whether in Italy or the United States, whether at home or in a restaurant, there is a different version of this soup. The soup can be thin or hearty, with or without tomatoes, meat broth or vegetable, it really does not matter. The pasta and bean soup is just a simple, easy to make Italian peasant recipe that is the perfect dish any time of the year.
Not only is the soup simple to make, but the preparation is quick and can be made with ingredients that are typically stocked in most kitchen pantries. One of the things that make this soup perfect is the ratio (2-1-1-1) of ingredients that are easy to remember and can easily scaled up or down depending on the number of meals / people that you are intending to serve.
Ingredients (4 Servings):
- 2 Cans Chicken Broth
- 1 Can Garbanzo / Chick Peas (Drained), you can use any type of bean, but Cannellini is the most typically used, but for mom’s recipe, Chick Peas are used
- 3 – 4 Whole Peeled Garlic (personal preference and dependent upon size)
- 1 Cup of Dry Small Pasta (Ditalini or Elbow Macaroni)
- Olive Oil, Salt (I prefer to use Sea Salt), Dried Basil, 1 Chicken & Tomato Bouillon Cube (used when cooking the pasta, but completely optional), Grated Parmesan Cheese
Preparation (30 minutes):
Step 1: In a pot drizzle some olive oil and add a couple pinches of salt and heat on Medium-High. Once the olive oil is hot add the peeled garlic cloves and sauté until they are golden brown.
Step 2: Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Step 3: Reduce the heat to Medium-Low and add the drained diced Tomatoes, drained Chick Peas and a dash or two of dried Basil. Gently stir all of the ingredients and allow the soup to simmer.
Step 4: Once the soup is simmering, you can cook the pasta in a separate pot.
Step 5: Boil 3 cups of water with a bouillon cube, then add 1 cup of pasta. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes until there is very little water remaining, stirring every few minutes. Do not drain the remaining water
Building the Soup (less than 30 minutes from when you started preparing):
Once the pasta has been cooked and the soup has simmered, I like to build my Pasta Fazool the following way in the soup bowl.
With a ladle, add one ladle of cooked pasta to the bottom of the bowl.
Then add a ladle portion of the diced tomatoes, chick peas and if you are lucky a whole garlic that has been cooked to soft sweet perfection.
Then add a little over a ladle of soup broth to the bowl and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Pasta Fazool is one of those recipes where I enjoy it as much for its simplicity, easiness to prepare and the perfect combination of flavors. This soup is great to eat any time of the year; but it is particularly it is very good after being outside in the cold weather. If there are any leftovers, you can either combine the soup and the pasta together and reheat in the microwave, or bring the ingredients together after they have been separately reheated.