Tag Archives: white bean

Sicilian-style Bean Soup: Pasta e Fagioli

It’s not “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” in this soup that makes it a standout. It is the garlic, basil, thyme and rosemary that waft through the air as the aroma of freshly made Sicilian Bean Soup simmers away on the stovetop.

For sometime now I have been an advocate of soups for dinner. It started with a simple Chicken Noodle fascination, but then it led to a Soup and Salad Diet while the hubby and I were engaged. Especially if you’re a harried mom, like me, using a few quick staples can allow you to pull together a fabulous meal with little prep but lots of satisfaction.

Now there are many lovely elements to a soup, such as health benefits and dimensional flavor without a lot of work. But I think one of the best qualities of soup is that it forces you to slow down and take a deep breath and savor it slowly. Much of my life suffers from the perpetual list of daily activities, and when it comes to mealtime, I feel forced to get it done as fast as possible. But soup forces me to slow down.

Although Pasta e Fagioli is a pretty varied soup in Italy, different regions have their own spin on it, it’s really considered a peasant’s soup. Ultimately, this is because all of the ingredients are pretty easily found on the farm and it can be diluted to last for days. In my version of this dish I’ve replaced the pancetta with  ground chicken. Some recipes for this soup include tomatoes. However, the versions that I have enjoyed the most have not included them, so I left them out.

Keep Your eye out for more soups to come from me this season. It’s such an easy mis-week meal I can’t resist.

Shopping List:

1 pound ground chicken

1/2 an onion diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium carrot, diced

14 oz.  low-sodium canned white beans

32 oz. chicken stock

1 cup water

2 cloves garlic or 2 teaspoons granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary

1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons fresh basil sliced thin (here’s a tip: use your kitchen scissors to cut it directly into the pot)

1 cup dry small pasta, like elbow or ditalini

1/2 grated parmesan cheese


1. In a large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat saute the garlic and olive oil for a minute or until fragrant. Then cook the ground chicken and sliced onions until the meat is cooked through. This will take about 5-7 minutes.

2. At this point pour in the chicken broth, the water, the beans, the carrots and the herbs. Raise the heat and let it come to a boil.

3. Then toss in the pasta and cook according to the directions, about 7 minutes for the elbows I used.

4. Serve this topped with a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese in each bowl. Yes, you read right! We Sicilians like our cheese:)

Serves: 4-6


White Bean Picnic Salad

White Bean Picnic Salad

With Labor Day right around the corner, and school starting up again, I thought I’d try to squeeze one more salad into my repertoire.

Since  I do love white beans (and my kids do too), I thought I’d try to create a simple dish that could be made ahead (Yay!) and served at room temperature. This is definitely perfect  for a picnic or as a light meal or a side dish. With garlic and green peppers adding a spicy bite and vinegar bringing the tang, this one is a keeper.

Shopping List:

1 cup white beans, cleaned and soaked overnight

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove sliced

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 a green pepper diced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. After soaking the beans overnight it’s pretty this is a pretty simple dish. Drain the beans and then place them in a stockpot. Cover them with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil, then continue to cook them for 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, you can dice the veggies and place them in a bowl.

3. When the beans are ready, drain them and rinse them with cool water. They will be tender, but with a bit of a bite to them still. Toss the beans with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and veggies. Voila! A lite lunch or perfect potluck dish is ready.

Serves 4  -6.

White Bean Soup

White Bean Soup--slow cooked

There’s something about homemade soup that just makes life so good. At the end of the day filling your belly with a hot, steamy bowl of love is like stepping into a sudsy bubble bath  –it forces all your tension to just melt away as you exhale.

This recipe is fabulous, since you can really start it all in advance, and then it works its magic all on its own as it simmers away in the slow cooker. Yep, you heard me, pull out that crockpot you got as a wedding gift and dust it off. You won’t be sorry. Plus you can freeze the leftovers in a freezer safe ziploc bag or reimagine the extras into my White Bean Taquitos, which I will have to post later.

Oh yeah, as a side note those slow cooker bags that you can buy to line your pot certainly help on the clean up of this one. If you don’t have a slow cooker, instructions for the stovetop are also included.

P.S. This recipe is good for the belly and the wallet:)

Shopping List:

1 bag of white beans, uncooked

2 3.5-ounce packages of smoked ham, chopped

½ an onion, chopped

3 celery stalks, strings removed and chopped

1 garlic clove chopped

½ tsp. kosher salt and ground pepper

Instructions for the crockpot:

1. The night before pour the beans into a large pot and cover them with water and put the lid on. Let them soak on the counter all night.

2. The next day drain the beans and pick out any that don’t look right or any sneaky rocks that made their way into the pot.

3. Add the beans, the ham, the onion, the celery, and the garlic to the slow cooker.

4. Pour 4 cups of water over the mixture and put the lid on that bad baby and turn it on low.

5. Don’t touch it! Let it be. That slow cooking magic will work on its own.

6. After about 6 hours taste test it for salt and pepper before serving with some fresh chives or parsley on top.

**Instructions for the stovetop:

1. The night before pour the beans into a large pot and cover them with water and put the lid on. Let them soak on the counter all night.

2. The next day drain the beans and pick out any that don’t look right or any sneaky rocks that made their way into the pot.

3. Add the beans, the ham, the onion, the celery, and the garlic to a 6 quart stockpot.

4. Pour 6 cups of water over the mixture and bring the mixture to a boil.

5. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the temperature to low and cover the pot. Let it cook away for about 1 1/2 hours. This is when the  magic starts to work.

6. After 1 1/2 hours remove the lid, stir it all up, and taste test it for salt and pepper. Let it continue to simmer for another 30 minutes with the lid off. When it’s ready top it with some fresh chives or parsley on top.

*This could easily be trasnformed into a veggie version by leaving out the ham, and replacing the water with vegetable stock for extra flavor.

Serves 6-8