Gluten-Free Pasta e Fagioli
Here’s a secret: I border on being obsessive about some things, especially when it comes to food.
It’s not in that healthy, oh I love food way. It’s in that borderline cray-cray perfectionist way. If a certain recipe calls for a particular ingredient I don’t have or can’t get and I REALLY want to make that recipe, I will go out of my way to find the ingredient I need. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes not, but it becomes a challenge I must complete.
I know that recipes are just "guides," but I like to try a recipe first the way it’s intended and then I can riff on it. I don’t want a substitution, I want it be the way it looks in the picture. Yup, I’m a weirdo.
I was craving Pasta e Fagioli one day and came across a recipe for it that I wanted to try. The problem was that I didn’t have ditalini pasta on hand, and could not get access to it easily. Fine, I thought, I’ll just use macaroni elbows. It’s kind of the same (no, it isn’t) and I’ll get by.
I made the soup. It tasted fabulous, but I obsessed about it and wanted it the right way, with the right pasta shape. I ended up finding gluten-free ditalini at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in Chicago from Da Luciano’s. I purchased a bag immediately with the sole intention of lovingly carting it back to Connecticut to make Pasta e Fagioli.
And so I did…and you know what? It tasted better. Maybe it was the victory of the challenge, or maybe it truly was the shape, but that first bite was satisfying and delicious with the tomatoey broth, the subtle spice from the Italian sausage and that tiny little pasta that was just enough starch without being overpowering.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2-3 turkey Italian sausage, casing removed (I used Premio Spicy Italian)
- 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, blended (I use the BPA-free Muir Glen tomatoes)
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 2 15 oz cans of white beans, drained
- 1 tsp of dried basil
- 1/2 tsp of dried oregano
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 cup of tubed shaped pasta (preferably ditalini)
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add sausage (which has been removed from casing) and cook until well done and becomes a crumbled consistency. Add garlic and cook for one minute, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn't brown. Add chicken broth. Add your tomatoes to the pot. You can puree them if you don't like it chunky, but I like chunks so I just hand crush the tomatoes as I toss them into the pot. Add drained beans and spices to the soup and simmer partly covered for 1-2 hours.
After an hour or two, turn the soup up to a slow boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package instructions, but note that it may take longer to cook since there are a bunch of other things in the pot. Once the pasta is cooked, add parsley and serve with some grated Parmesan cheese.
**If you want to have leftovers, cook the pasta separately from the soup, otherwise the soup will congeal overnight in the fridge and become super thick as the pasta absorbs the liquid.