During the bitter cold days of winter, there’s nothing more warming than a bowl of homemade soup. I always keep my pantry stocked with a few staples so that a big pot of soup is only minutes away. For example, canned beans, like cannellini, are good to have on hand and are an inexpensive item with a very long shelf-life. In addition, I keep a variety of dried gluten free pasta on hand, which can be used in a multitude of dishes. And, finally, gluten free chicken stock. When it’s on sale, I pick up several at a time and use it for soups and stews. Once you have your pantry stocked with these few essentials, Pasta Fagioli comes together very easily and quickly, making it perfect for a winter weeknight meal!
Pasta Fagioli is a favorite of my husband and I make it often during the cold weather months. It comes together so quickly, especially if you’re using canned beans. Canned beans are a perfectly fine alternative to soaking dried beans — and much quicker! When using canned beans, I like to rinse and drain them well.
For this soup, you can keep it meat-free, as I’ve done with this recipe, or you can add bits of prosciutto or pancetta when sautéing the garlic. This adds another layer of flavor. I’ve also fried up the pancetta as you would fry bacon, drained it on a paper towel lined dish, then used it to top the bowls of soup. Think of it as Italian-style bacon bits! This adds a wonderful, salty crunch to each bowl! Serve this delicious soup with a salad and crusty bread for the whole family to enjoy!
- To keep this soup vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
- Adding Italian sausage to this soup will make it heartier and more filling. Just remove the sausage from the casing and fry it up before you add the garlic. Not only does it make the soup more filling, but it adds even more flavor to the broth!
- You can also add bits of chorizo or kielbasa to the soup. For meats like this that are already cured and cooked, you can brown them up under the broiler or in a frying pan, then cut up into small pieces and add to the broth!
- Since gluten free pasta tends to get more gummy in texture than traditional wheat flour pastas, I like to keep the cooked elbows separate from the broth. If you add all of the pasta at once, it will get very soft and lose its shape. This is especially true if you’ll be making a large batch of this and storing in the refrigerator for later in the week. Same goes for freezing this soup. Keep the pasta separate unless you plan to eat all of the soup in one sitting.
Quick & Easy Gluten Free Pasta Fagioli
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely minced and smashed into a paste
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- Olive oil, about 2-3 Tbsp.
- Good pinch of crushed red pepper (adjust according to your taste)
- Splash of white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 32-ounce container gluten free chicken stock, like Kitchen Basics brand
- 24 ounces of water
- 2 15.5-ounce cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 dried bay leaf
- Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- 1 12-ounce box of Barilla Gluten Free elbows (or your favorite gluten free pasta, small pasta recommended)
- Step 1 Rinse the beans in a colander over the sink and drain well.
- Step 2 In the bottom of a soup pot (for this amount of soup, I used a 4.6 quart pot) heat the olive oil, then add the garlic and crushed red pepper.
- Step 3 Once the garlic becomes fragrant (but not brown) add a the tomato paste.
- Step 4 Mix the paste into the garlic so it doesn’t burn.
- Step 5 Add the splash of white wine and reduce slightly.
- Step 6 At this point, pour the chicken stock and water into the pot
- Step 7 Season with salt and pepper, add the cheese rind (if using) and bay leaf.
- Step 8 Cover and bring to a slow boil
- Step 9 Reduce the heat and add the beans.
- Step 10 Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Step 11 Add more crushed red pepper at this point. Allow to simmer gently on low so the flavors meld together and the cheese rind flavors the soup and softens.
- Step 12 In a separate pot, cook your pasta to al-dente.
- Step 13 Remove and discard the cheese rind and bay leaf
- Step 14 To serve, add pasta to the bottom of each bowl, then ladle in the beans and broth.
- Step 15 Top each bowl with grated cheese and chopped Italian parsley, if desired. You can also add more red pepper if you like it spicy!