I like slow Sunday afternoons like today,
with some stew simmering on the stove
and some slow dancing in the kitchen with my love to this song.
I think Sunday stew is going to become a regular around here.
Sunday afternoons/evenings can be stressful and a little sad for me, both with dreading the week of school work ahead and the prospect of Adam leaving to drive back to Charlotte on Sunday night.
But, there's something about inherently relaxing about chopping vegetables, watching them meld with broth and tomatoes and spices, then breathing in the rich aroma that seeps into every room.
With all the things of the world that I cannot control, this is one thing that I can. One good thing I make with my own hands. It calms me when my brain gets full of worry and "what-ifs."
This is Italian comfort food, the kind of thing that Italian peasants ate hundreds of years ago. Pasta e fagioli means pasta and beans. Here, most people actually pronounce it "pasta fazool," which is how you'll hear it referred to in that iconic Italian love song That's Amore. ("When the stars make you drool, just-a like pasta fazool, that's amore.")
My dad calls it beans 'n greens, and I've been eating some variation of it for a long time.
My favorite version is from an authentic Italian restaurant in Myrtle Beach called Umbertos that my family has been going to for the past fifteen years. My dad even insisted on taking my grandmother there before she passed away.
It's simple to make at home, and forgiving in the way that most soups are. Throw some vegetables, broth, and spices in a pot and let them simmer until they become a whole that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. It's Sunday [soup-day] magic.
Wishing you some peace this afternoon, friends.
Pasta e Fagioli with Kale
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 cans cannellini beans
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup dry macaroni*
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1 cup water
salt & pepper
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving.
*You can use any kind of pasta you like. I tried gluten-free brown rice pasta this time, and it turned out great!
In a large dutch oven, melt butter and olive oil. Add in onions and carrots. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are slightly soft and onions are translucent.
Add garlic and cook another minute. Add thyme, basil, rosemary, bay leaf, beans, vegetable broth, tomatoes, and wine. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 25 minutes.
*At this point, you can proceed with the next step to add the pasta and kale, OR you can let the soup simmer on the stove on low for an additional hour or so, and then add the pasta and kale about 10 minutes before serving.
Add in macaroni, kale, and 1 cup water and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
Adapted from Marshall's Abroad