In nearly every region, province and village you will find a version of this pasta and bean soup. There are countless unique recipes that change from place to place, which is as good a reason as any … to try them all.
The first time I ever sampled a bowl of this comfort food I was in Bassano, Italy with my son. As soon as we walked across the bridge we entered a maze of streets that led us to the charming cafe that served our tasty lunch.
The history of Bassano revolves around the Palladio’s bridge that spans the Brenta River. (See the photo below). The bridge has been destroyed by fire and war many times. The war museum stands at the head of the bridge and commemorates the heroic deeds of the Alpine forces during World War I.
On the left bank of the Brenta, in the historic center of town, is where you’ll find some of Italy’s finest grappa (an after-dinner drink).
Okay, back to the soup. My version of this recipe came about because I had leftover Fagioli al Pomodoro which has many of the same ingredients as the various traditional pasta e fagioli recipes. Plus, I needed dinner in a hurry.
An added bonus to using the Fagioli al Pomodoro recipe to make the soup is it’s travel ability. If you are driving to the snow for a cozy mountain retreat, make the bean recipe only (no liquid, no spilling, takes less room in the cooler). Get to your destination and make your soup there. (The aroma of the bacon cooking will seem like you prepared the entire thing there).
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 2 cups Fagioli al Pomodoro
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup ditalini pasta
- Heat the olive oil, add bacon and celery. Cook until bacon is done.
- Add the fagioli al pomodoro, then the broth, stir to blend with bacon and celery.
- In a separate pot cook ditalini (or other small pasta) according to package directions.
- Add pasta to soup.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.