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 cheese PLACE 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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