I want you to know something. Just now, at 11 pm, I got up off the couch, poured leftover soup into a bowl, and garnished it with parsley to take the photo below. Because the photo I had planned to use was admittedly drab, and because I want you to want to make this soup. I’ve never done that before; I usually just snap a photo as I go. Is that too ridiculous? Is it better or worse if I tell you?
But here’s the thing: I want to you to put this recipe in your mental recipe file. It’s an easy fix when dinner needs to be on the table in 15 minutes, and it’s a bowlful of soup when you need it most. (I, for one, always need soup most when I’m in such a rush that I only have 15 minutes to make dinner.)
This is peasant food, which means it’s all the best things: thrifty, filling, comforting. The name translates to “Pasta and Beans,” and those are the only essential ingredients. I never like to pass up the chance to add vegetables to things, though, so I included my beet greens and a couple of tomatoes. You can certainly select your own vegetables, or skip them all together. If you’ve already got cooked chickpeas or white beans handy, you’ll be glad; otherwise just open a can and you’re ready to go.
15-minute Pasta e Fagioli: Bring 6 c. of water, vegetable broth, or bean cooking liquid to a boil (I used 2 c. chickpea cooking liquid plus 4 c. water plus 1 tsp salt; the amount of salt you need will vary if you use water or broth) and add 1 c. penne or other short pasta. After 5 minutes, add a big handful of sliced greens, then a minute or two later add 1 ½ c. drained chickpeas or other beans and 1 ½ c. chopped tomatoes. When the beans are warmed through, add 1 tsp. finely minced rosemary and additional salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and grated Parmesan if desired.