Pasta-bean soup is friendship in a bowl

By Miami Herald
McClatchy Newspapers
Pasta and bean soup, served with an Italian lettuce salad, is a heart-warming meal for two or a crowd.
Pasta e Fagioli is one of Italy's most famous soups. The combination of pasta and beans is heart-warming, and can be served for two or a crowd. It's perfect to serve to friends. Leave the pot on the stove for everyone to help themselves.In Italy they use the last bits of pasta left in various opened boxes -- a great way to use up the leftover pasta. This recipe calls for acini di pepe, a small round pasta used mostly for soups, but any type of small pasta can be used.This meal contains 557 calories per serving, with 31 percent of calories from fat.Helpful hints
  • If making the soup in advance, leave out the pasta and add it 10 minutes before serving to finish cooking.
  • To make this a vegetarian dinner, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
  • Canned Great Northern beans can be used instead of cannellinis.
  • Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of prepared minced garlic.
  • Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)Makes 2 servings.
         1 1/2     cups rinsed and drained cannellini beans
         2    cups canned, no-salt-added, whole tomatoes including the juice     1    cup sliced celery     1     teaspoon minced garlic     2    cups nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth     2     tablespoons olive oil     1/4  cup acini di pepe pasta
         1/2  cup fresh basil     Salt and pepper     4     tablespoons grated Parmesan cheesePLACE beans, tomatoes and their liquid, celery and garlic in a large saucepan. Add the chicken broth and 1 cup water.BRING to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with the edge of a spoon. Cover, lower the heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes.ADD the oil and pasta. Boil, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Add the basil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the soup in bowls and pass the Parmesan to sprinkle on top.Nutrition information: Per serving: 538 calories (30 percent from fat), 17.9 grams fat (4.0 grams saturated, 11.0 grams monounsaturated), 8 milligrams cholesterol, 26.8 grams protein, 71.6 grams carbohydrates, 13.9 grams fiber, 805 milligrams sodium.
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