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Day 310: Pasta e Fagioli (Fazool)


Ah to be three again, when the absolute worst thing that could go wrong in a day is to not be given free reign with your Halloween candy basket, or maybe the dog takes off with your Buzz Lightyear or you have to have your hair washed. Granted these might be earth shattering events for at least five minutes, but there are no deadlines, no critics. No death and taxes.

And dinner just appears. We all needed something warm and comforting, cheap, stress-free and relatively healthy. I so could have justified ordering pizza today, but I think the fast food remorse would have been too much on top of it all.

I decided to make pasta e fagioli (pasta fazool). My plan was to also put on Moonstruck, because it takes place during this bare, grey time of year and because Cher and Nicolas Cage so brilliantly love and completely irritate each other at the same time. And it’s so passionate and sad and hopeful, and I love Olympia Dukakis and her kitchen.

So we made a pot of pasta fazool and tried to teach W to sing That’s Amore and came up with a new way to keep him at the dinner table until we were all finished – light a row of tealights in the middle of the table for him to blow out when dinner is over. (Of course he likes to sing “happy birthday” before he does, having witnessed this ritual many times this month.)

If you have a couple slices of bacon or pancetta around all the better; chop and sauté them first, then remove it from the pan to cook the onion and other veg. Add it back to the soup at the very end.

What you need: onion; garlic; carrot; celery; broth; canned beans; canned tomatoes; any small shaped pasta

Chop a small onion and clove of garlic; sauté in a little oil over medium heat until soft. Add a chopped celery rib and chopped carrot and cook for a few more minutes.

Add 2 cups of chicken, beef or vegetable stock and a 14 oz. (398 mL) can diced, whole, stewed or crushed tomatoes. Mash half of a 14 oz. (398 mL) can of beans with a fork and add them along with the rest of the beans. If you have it, add a pinch of dried oregano and/or a sprig of fresh rosemary. Bring to a simmer and add 1/2 cup dry pasta; cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. If the soup is too thick, add a little extra stock, more tomatoes or water.

Season with salt and pepper and serve hot, preferably with grated Parmesan.


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15 comments on “Day 310: Pasta e Fagioli (Fazool)

  1. Elaine
    November 6, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Holy moley, my husband and I discussed watching Moonstruck last night as well! We ended up going with The Omega Man, because it went better with whiskey and we could laugh at Charleton Heston (or “Cheston”) for a solid hour and a half.

    My question, to anyone who’d care to answer, is: does anyone have ideas for a solid eat-it-throughout-the-week meal?

    Unlike Julie, I don’t have the gumption to make a new and always-impressive dinner each night; once or twice a week, I’ll make a big dish and we’ll just graze out of it. Any new ideas?

  2. Barb
    November 6, 2008 at 7:13 am

    I have seen this recipe many times and have been intrigued enough to remember I would like to try it but have yet to try it. I will soon.
    Poor W! I understand it’s not easy being three.

  3. Barb
    November 6, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Elaine, I know what you mean. I like to make a big pot or bowl of something on the weekends so I have something to take to work for lunch everyday. That way I don’t have to think or plan or create everyday.

  4. Dana
    November 6, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Moonstruck was such a great script – I just love the movie. Perhaps I should make this recipe and click it into the DVD player to enjoy as I eat?

  5. EricaB
    November 6, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Elaine – I’m not a big fan of having the exact same thing for a week so this is my approach – if you roast chicken or cook up chicken breasts they can be re-purposed a million ways throughout the week. I recently made chicken breasts with roasted eggplant and red peppers, the leftover chicken turned in to chicken noodle soup, chicken sandwiches and a chicken caesar salad. Ground beef/bison would work the same way – burgers/chili/meatballs/shepherd’s pie… Not quite what you’re looking for but my 2cents anyway 🙂

  6. Lana
    November 6, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Watching that clip from Moonstruck just made my day. LOVE that movie, love that scene.
    When I get home on Friday night, and kick off my shoes, I open a bottle of red, light candles and cook pizza or pasta to a cd called “Mob Hits”. Bliss.

  7. JulieVR
    November 6, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Chili. Black bean soup. Pasta Fazool. Baked Beans. Curried Squash Soup.

    Question: does the photo above look dark to everyone? All my photos look normal, even slightly light, on my laptop, but dark on my desktop, which is cranked to the highest illumination (I know I need to go buy a Mac..)

  8. robyn
    November 6, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Ooh! Tealights on the table is a great idea. Leo’s pretty good about staying at the table, but now he’s decided to sit on the table when he’s finished and everyone else is still eating. Maybe tealights would prevent that? :- )

    Elaine – Julie’s sausage and lentil soup is reeeeeeeally good for keeping in the fridge all week. And it gets tastier each day!

  9. Cathie Whitehead
    November 6, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Julie, the photo looks great, but buying an Mac is an even better idea.

    I love the movie Moonstruck!, it was great to see so many other who feel the same. Love, love your work.

  10. elektra
    November 6, 2008 at 11:06 am

    ok, i’m making lasagna for dinner! no classical music, just some jazz. that’s kind of italian, isn’t it?

  11. Cheryl
    November 6, 2008 at 11:42 am

    You are so good at avoiding default take-out!
    I echo the comments about a roast chicken. But a roast of beef can do the same thing. Roast one night, stirfry or stroganoff another, maybe fajitas, then a pot of beef and barley soup.
    Tealights are a pretty option. Right now we just let her sing songs to her heart’s content and our eardrums pain while we eat. Oh, and we all pretend we are lions and roar at each other. It leads to meaningful dinner conversations in a few years, right?

  12. Christina
    November 6, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Tomorrow is my due date for our 3rd child … I can’t believe the due date is here!! Althought I don’t expect for the baby to get here before next week (I’m just not that lucky!!). That being said, Tuesday I FINALLY got the burst of energy I’ve been waiting for! I went to Safeway and did a 10% tuesday shop and when I got home I all of a sudden started cooking. I wasn’t planning on it, it just kinda happend. I made a big pot of wicked beef & bean chilie, I got an old fashioned stew going in the crockpot that I let cook slowly overnight and I got a pork stock (made with Ham hawks) made and put it outside overnight and then made a killer pea soup yesterday morning!! I thought I should also say, I think Pea Soup is seriously under rated! It’s such a great soup and SO COST EFFECTIVE! I made a HUGE pot (at least 3 meals) for $6!!
    Anyway just thought I’d share a few big pot meals, feeling good about having some meals in the freezer for when the baby does decided to grace us with it’s presence!

  13. Laurene
    November 6, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Moonstruck has always been a favorite of our family. We’re Italian & actually have characters like those from the movie among our family & friends, so it’s a little like watching home movies.

    I especially like when the mother fries red peppers & puts slices of Italian bread with holes in them in the pan & breaks eggs into the holes. Now THAT’s Italian!!

  14. Carol SB
    November 7, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Tea lights are great motivation to stay at the table. Bravo for thinking of it! We used to do this when the kids were small: the advent calendar thing, with three kids, starts to become difficult. So I’d notch a tall, taper candle into 24 segments, and we’d burn it a notch every night at the supper table. (a couple of cautions: sometimes we’d be involved in talk/ supper and not notice it’d burned more than one notch: no prob, just “forgot” to burn it for a night or so when we were away. And one time i found a gorgeous, REALLY TALL and thick taper and notched it… and it took darn near an hour to burn between notches. Not a good thing.)

  15. Carol SB
    November 7, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Oh yeah, and Elaine: Julie’s chili ( in any incarnation, please pardon the pun) is great for a week of suppers… eat as chili; stir some into a pot of tomato soup; stir some into pasta, top with cheese and bake til bubbly; and if there’s a little bit left, serve hot, with a big pan of cheesy nachos.
    And, Julie- the photo looks fine on our desktop monitor.

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