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Free Meal Plan: Pasta E FagioliSoup is a staple in our house throughout the week; for a quick dinner, thawed and reheated for lunch boxes, it’s an easy and quick way to use up vegetables left over in the crisper. This one is chock full of healthy beans, whole wheat pasta and veggies to fill hungry little bellies.You can substitute your favorite kind of beans-I happened to just throw in whatever was in the cupboard. Serve with some crusty bread and slices of cheese for a whole meal!

Pasta E Fagioli
Adapted From Whining and Dining

4 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped red pepper
2 tsp chopped garlic
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (low sodium)
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes with juice
one 19 oz can cannelli or Great Northern beans
½ cup tubetti or other small pasta ( I used whole wheat macaroni, which stands up better)
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
Fresh basil, parsley, and Parmesan cheese for topping.

In a large pot, begin frying up the bacon pieces over medium heat until crisp. When they are cooked, fish them out with a slotted spoon and lay them on some paper towel to drain.

Drain out all the fat except for about a tablespoon or two, then add in the onions and begin sautéing them until they become soft and translucent. Add a little more olive oil if you need to, then the carrots and celery, continuing to stir and sauté, turning the heat down a bit if things begin to brown too much. Stir in the red pepper and garlic, sautéing for a bit longer.

Pour in the stock and tomatoes, stirring, and bring to a boil before turning the heat down to low so that it can simmer. Mash up half of the beans with a fork, then add them to the soup with the oregano, pepper flakes, and remaining whole beans. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes before stirring in the pasta, then simmer a little longer (about 10-15 minutes) until the pasta is al dente.

Serve with fresh herbs and Parmesan sprinkled over top, and thick pieces of crusty bread.

Serves 4

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