WHAT WAS A FAVORITE OR REGIONAL FOOD ITEM FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD?
There are oh so many. But since it’s a rainy afternoon, I’m recalling Pasta Fagioli. Sophia Loren once said that the smell of a good pasta fagioli can make her cry. This hearty and amazingly simple bean and tomato soup is well know all over Italy, which is rare in a county with so many regional specialties. In the southern dialects it is called Pasta Fasoul and is featured in the Dean Martin classic ‘That’s Amore!’ It’s easy to prepare, has few ingredients, and is always delicious. When I created the recipes for Dr. Steven Pratt’s second book, Superfoods RX, I made sure to include a recipe for this hearty, nurturing, healthy, and delicious soup of white beans, tomatoes, celery and pasta. I’ve also included a recipe for an all purpose herbal vegetable broth as well. Buon Apetito!
Pasta Fagioli Superfood RX
Recipe By: Mark Cleveland
Serving Size: 8
Preparation Time: 1:45
Categories: Soups Italian SuperFoods RX
1/2 lb baby lima beans – dry
1/2 lb white beans – dry
2 T miso – optional
4 qts Herbal Vegetable Broth Superfoods RX (recipe follows)
2 whole bay leaves
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion minced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 head celery sliced
28 oz tomatoes – canned crushed
2 T marjoram – minced
1/4 C basil – rough chop
1 lb cooked pasta
Salt and pepper
Soak beans in water and cover for 3 hours or overnight. Discard water. Cook in broth with miso and bay leaves until tender, about 45 minutes; skim off any foam as it forms. Saute onion in oil until golden. Add garlic and toss until fragrant and golden. Add to soup. Add crushed tomatoes and celery with leaves; bring to a simmer. Skim. When celery is tender (about 5 minutes) stir in herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Divide pasta among bowls and ladle soup over. Store leftover soup separate from pasta.
Notes: I like shells, orecchiette, whole wheat penne, or farfalle in pasta fagioli. Use fresh herbs when possible. You can substitute oregano for marjoram if you’d like. Use any combo of white beans great northern, cannellini, large lima, small white bean, etc you like.
Per serving: 418 Calories; 6g Fat (12% calories from fat); 20g Protein; 70g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 585mg Sodium
Herbal Vegetable Broth Superfoods RX
Recipe By: Mark Cleveland
Serving Size: 16
Preparation Time: 1:00
Categories: Soups SuperFoods RX
1 gallon water
1 C dry vermouth – optional
5 whole herbal and green tea bags
5 cloves garlic
1 large redonion papery – skin only
3 medium bay leaves
1 C parsley stems
2 C vegetable trimmings
3 T miso
Put water and vermouth to boil while doing the vegetable and herb prep. Add the tea bags to the cold water. To the heating water add bay leaves, unpeeled, smashed garlic cloves, onion skin, parsley stems, greens, and miso. Don’t wait for the water to boil first; cooler water extracts the flavor from the aromatics as they heat. Add any hard woody herbs like, shiitake stems, lemon grass, lemon verbena, thyme with the miso. Bring broth to a low boil and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove tea bags and add any soft delicate herbs like basil leaves, cilantro etc, and allow to steep for another 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, strain.
Notes: This is a great place to use those flavorful inedibles like shiitake mushroom stems, herb stems, garlic peelings, celery trimmings, carrot peels, kale stalks, corn cobs, leek greens, romaine lettuce outer leaves, etc. Freeze broth in quart containers for future use. Add another 2 tea bags and one additional cup water if not using vermouth. You can collect the broth veggies in the freezer until ready to use. Vermouth, wine, or sherry are conductors of flavor the way oil is. The herbal and green tea add flavor and health benefits. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant. Many herbal teas have various phyto-nutrients to benefit the body, blood stream, and internal organs. Feel free to use loose tea as well. Consider one tea bag to be about a scant tablespoon of leaf tea.
Per serving: 42 Calories; less than one gram Fat (12% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 146mg Sodium