Anyone else buy too many beans when the pandemic hit? Here's a good way to use up three cans of any white or red beans you have on hand. Pandemic or not, this is one of the best pantry staple meals and weeknight go-to's I can think of -- pasta fagioli. If you can't find mini shells, ditalini or elbow pasta, use any kind you have on hand and break it up into bite size pieces!
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 oz cubed pancetta, or bacon chopped
1 large yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp each dried thyme and rosemary
3 cans beans (2 cannellini and 1 red kidney)
1 box chicken stock
8 oz can diced tomatoes
1 lb box shells, ditalini or elbow pasta
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high. Add pancetta and cook until just starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic and herbs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes and stock, and bring to a simmer.
Blend one can cannellini beans with 2 cups water, puree until smooth. Add to pot and bring to a simmer. Season with salt to taste. Add remaining beans to pot, bring to simmer and cook for 30 minutes on low heat.
Bring separate pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Strain pasta, return to pot and cover with enough soup to coat.
Serve soup and pasta together in a shallow bowl and top with Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.