Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mark Bittman's Spanish-Style Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta & Bean Soup) for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

Although I frequently make an oath not to buy any more cookbooks, there are times that I just can't help myself. Like when Mark Bittman comes out with a new one. Plus, since I already have How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I felt like I needed to have How to Cook Everything Fast--Bittman's collection of 2000-ish quick cooking recipes, processes and tips too. 

I have been craving Pasta e Fagioli but I liked Bittman's Spanish-style variation because of the chickpeas and smoked paprika and wanted to try it. He didn't mention the cheese in his version but it seemed only right to replace the Parmesan with some of my favorite Manchego.

Spanish-Style Pasta e Fagioli  
Slightly Adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman
(Serves 4)

3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp smoked paprika
(I added 1 tsp ground cumin)
14-oz can whole tomatoes
6 cups chicken or veggie stock, or water (I used 8 cups veggie broth)
2 cups (15 oz can) cooked or canned garbanzo beans (I doubled the beans)
6 oz spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch fresh parsley to garnish
(I added 4 oz Manchego cheese, about 1 cup grated)

Put 3 tablespoons oil in a large pot over low heat. Add vegetables to the pot and stir. Raise heat to medium-high, when the veggies start sizzling sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until they soften and begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and smoked paprika to the pot and stir until fragrant--about 1 minute. 

Add the tomatoes and their juice, breaking them apart with a spoon and scrapping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add stock or water and raise heat to high. 

When the soup begins to boil, stir in the beans and the pasta. Return to boil, then adjust heat so it simmers steadily. Test pasta after 5 minutes, it should be tender but not mushy. If pot starts to look dry, at water a bit at a time. 

When pasta is tender, turn off heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide soup into four bowls. Garnish each with the parsley, 1/4 cup cheese, and drizzle with olive oil; serve.

Notes/Results: A simple and tasty little soup. The combination of the garbanzo beans and mini spaghetti noodles was fun. My sister (Yes, when you visit Hawaii, especially in the midst of a tropical storm, Deb feeds you soup) said that she really liked the flavor from the smoked paprika and felt it set it apart from the typical Italian pasta e fagioli. I think the manchego was a nice touch. Warming and satisfying for a rainy night, I would happily make this again. 

This soup will link up to this coming week's Potluck! at I Heart Cooking Clubs--the opportunity to make any Diana Henry recipe or any recipe from our past IHCC chefs. You can see what everyone made by following the links once the post goes live.

In the meantime, we have some great friends and their dishes waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen. Let's have a look!

Janet of The Taste Space shares Three Sisters Soup (Black Bean, Corn and Squash Soup) and says, "This is a perfect end-of-summer, beginning of fall soup, as the last of the local corn arrives and the first winter squashes arrive. Or perfect for the dead of winter, too, using frozen corn kernels. This meal is simple but elevated by choice herbs and spices (cilantro, chiles, smoked paprika, garlic) with a heavy hand of lime juice. I used the full amount in the recipe and even I, the lover of all things tart, found it off-putting. Please start with less and taste as you go."  

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog is here with a creamy Gluten Free Mushroom Bisque. She says, "When the weather starts to chill, I start thinking about homemade soup. This simple recipe couldn't be easier; I made it in 20 minutes start to finish. I pride myself on preparing tasty "quickie soups"  that I can complete and eat within the half hour. This gluten free favorite was light, delicious and soothing.  It was perfect for a calorie conscious, yet satisfying lunch! It's healthy too. Mushrooms contain valuable nutrients.

It's spicy Kimchi-guk (Kimchi Soup) from Joyce at Kitchen Flavours. She says, "I have made this kimchi soup many times using my homemade kimchi. I love kimchi soup and could finish a whole bowl of this soup, and slurp on every last drop! ... I have added in more hot pepper paste (gochujang), as I like the soup a little more spicy. Use less hot pepper paste for a milder soup, but if you love heat, you would probably add on more, just like I did! Delicious! With just this one dish, you would eat two bowls of rice!"

Debbie of The Friday Friends brings Mexican Chicken Soup and says, "On Tuesday I saw this on my Facebook page, was having a bad day (just tired mostly) and thought: I'm going to make this soup. This looks like COMFORT FOOD!! And I got to chop lots of vegetables. Does that sound weird? Chopping vegetables makes me happy. I don't know what it is. I think that's why I like to make soup---it has lots of vegetables that need chopping. ... This is a great soup. Good for you too. Just fresh veggies simmered in broth served over some homemade Spanish rice."

One sandwich this week, healthy Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Wraps from Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen. Shaheen says, "I have mostly been having sandwiches for work, and I have to admit I have been getting a little bored with the plain filling, so the BBQ butter that I made recently was delightful, but sometimes its not sandwiches, its a pasta salad or today, it was Roast Sweet Potato with Red Pepper Wraps.  These were nice, but I think they would have benefited with a touch of soured cream." 

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week! 


  1. Very autumnal, thank you so much for hosting.

  2. Given how amazing all of Bittman's cookbooks are, I can see why this was a must! Plus that soup sounds so good. Perfect comfort.

  3. Nice to see more people join this week. It must be soup season!

  4. Hi Deb,
    Your Spanish Style Pasta looks really flavourful and delicious! I have not tried any of Bittman's recipes. Wanted to many times though!
    I'm with you when it comes to cookbooks, always tell myself not to buy anymore for at least 6 months or so, but no willpower whatsoever! Just this month alone, I bought 4 new books! :)
    Delicious round-up of Souper Sundays!

  5. Can't go wrong with Bittman! Hey, I would be happy to visit Hawaii and eat soup as your sister was able to!

  6. What an awesome soup! Of course your photos along with all that colorful veg are tempting me to dive right into the computer screen! What a wonderful healthy bowl!

  7. What a great dish! I love the Spanish flavours in it and all of those caramelized veggies!

  8. Couscous & ConsciousnessOctober 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Deb, I'm loving the sound of this version of the classic Pasta e Fagiole - this is sounding like another book I need to add to my wish list. I love that you replaced the parmesan with some manchego - great choice.

  9. Oh Deb, you are winning me over with this soup! I love the Spanish twist with the chickpeas, smoked paprika, and manchego. Manchego is actually one of my favorite cheeses and I love to find recipes using it. I'm definitely going to pin this as something to make during potluck week.

    Love everything in the roundup from the Kimchi soup to the Sweet Potato Rollups. Lots of yummy and unique recipes shared.

  10. Pasta Spanish style sounds and looks delicious. And cheese, especially Manchego, is alway good in nearly any dish

  11. This sounds perfect for this time of year. Adding the Manchego was brilliant!

  12. Pasta e fagioli is one of my favorite soups! It just tastes like total comfort to me! Love this version of it!



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