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Healthy Eating, Mains, Soups

Italian Pasta and Bean Soup With Arugula (Pasta e Fagioli)

Italian Pasta and Bean Soup With Arugula (Pasta e Fagioli)
Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Entertaining? Guests love the informality and ease of a soup party. Make this robust, highly flavorful Italian pasta and bean soup the centerpiece of the gathering. Pasta e fagioli is an Italian classic, always varied according to the cook's preferences ... Read more

Active work time: 45 minutes. | Total preparation time: 1 hour 45 minutes. | Serves 6
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (1/4-pound) slice prosciutto, diced small
  • 2 red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 5 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, diced
  • 1/2 pound small mushrooms, stems trimmed, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (49-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 ounces small pasta such as small shells or tubetti, cooked according to package directions, drained
  • 2 cups trimmed baby arugula leaves
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

Step 1Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat. When hot, add the prosciutto. Cook, stirring often, until the prosciutto is browned and crispy on the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the onions, celery, fennel, mushrooms, 1 tablespoon of garlic and the rosemary. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes.

Step 2Add the beans, tomatoes, broth, red pepper flakes and pepper to taste. Mix. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer; cook, partially covered, stirring often to avoid sticking, for about 45 minutes. Stir in the pasta and remaining 1 teaspoon of garlic; cook 5 minutes more. Taste; adjust seasonings. Be wary of adding salt as the cheese garnish adds more. (This can be made 3 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen up to 1 month. It's OK if the soup becomes very thick. To serve, gently reheat, adding water as needed to thin; keep the consistency thick but with some visible liquid. Taste; adjust seasoning.) Stir in the arugula; cook 30 seconds. Serve hot, passing the cheese separately.

Note: Make this at least a day ahead for flavors to develop, up to the point of adding the arugula. It's easiest to dice the prosciutto when partially frozen.


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