Lunch / Dinner
Pasta e Fagioli
Beans may be the perfect food — they’re good for your heart, full of fiber, and packed with protein. Plus, they’re wallet-friendly, making them an ideal weeknight staple. Cooking beans in a slow cooker is a snap. It requires little preparation and cooks them to the perfect texture. Use it to turn three different legumes into unique and hearty meals.
Pasta e fagioli [PAH-stah eh fah-JYOL-lee] is a great soup to start with. A much loved peasant dish, it’s basically an Italian bean and pasta soup. Its flavors come from fresh herbs, like sage and rosemary, and it often includes tomatoes and pancetta. When paired with cheesy garlic sticks, you’ll think you’ve gone to Italy!
Test Kitchen Tip
If your cooked pancetta doesn’t render enough drippings (3 Tbsp.), make up the difference with olive oil.
Soak beans in 6 cups water in a large pot, covered, refrigerated overnight or at least 8 hours.
Add baking soda to pot. Bring beans to a boil; boil 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse beans, then transfer to a 7- to 8-qt. slow cooker. Stir in 5 cups broth.
Cook pancetta in same pot over medium heat until crisp, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, and set it aside. Reserve 3 Tbsp. drippings.
Deglaze pan with remaining 1 cup broth, scraping up any browned bits. Pour mixture over beans in slow cooker. Tie rosemary and sage sprigs, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth; add to slow cooker.
Cover slow cooker and cook beans until tender on high setting, 3–4 hours, or on low setting, 4–5 hours. Stir in tomatoes; season soup with salt and pepper. Cover slow cooker and cook 1 hour more.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain.
Divide pasta among bowls; ladle soup over pasta. Garnish each serving of soup with Parmesan, minced sage, and pancetta.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 17mg 5%
Sodium 634mg 26%
Carbs 52g 17%
Fiber 16g 64%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.