Soup serves crowds, couples

February 20, 2013 

Known as Pasta e Fagioli, this soup might be one of Italy’s most famous.

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, cooks mix together 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. Any type of small pasta can be used.

HELPFUL HINTS

Nutrition: 557 calories per serving; 31 percent of calories from fat

Tip: If making the soup in advance, leave out the pasta and add it 10 minutes before serving to finish cooking.

Substitutions: 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 bought minced garlic.

To buy: 1 can cannellini beans; 1 large can no-salt-added, whole tomatoes; 1 can nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth; 1 bunch celery; 1 package acini di pepe pasta; 1 bunch basil; 1 bag ready-to-eat Italian-style salad; 1 small piece Parmesan cheese

Staples: Olive oil, reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing, minced garlic, salt, black peppercorns

PASTA AND BEAN SOUP (PASTA E FAGIOLI) 11/2 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 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.

Per serving: 538 calories (30 percent from fat), 17.9 g fat (4.0 g saturated, 11.0 g monounsaturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 26.8 g protein, 71.6 g carbohydrates, 13.9 g fiber, 805 mg sodium. ITALIAN LETTUCE SALAD 2 cups washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad

2 tablespoons reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing

Place salad in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

Per serving: 19 calories (52 percent from fat), 1.1 g fat (0.1 g saturated, 0.3 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 0.7 g protein, 2.2 g carbohydrates, 1.0 g fiber, 8 mg sodium

Makes 2 servings Makes 2 servings Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks, including “The Flavors of the Florida Keys” and “Mix ’n’ Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes.” Go to dinnerinminutes.com.

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