Translates to Pasta and Beans, this is a classic Italian soup, easy to make and delicious. Some recipes for Pasta e Fagioli call for ground beef or Italian sausage, but I prefer using thinly sliced beef, either skirt steak (use only the outside cut of skirt steak; the inside cut is much tougher) or sometimes I use boneless sirloin steak, as I did in these photos, if I have some in the freezer that needs to be used.
Most recipes also call for the pasta and finished beef stew to be mixed together before serving. I prefer to keep the cooked and well drained pasta separate. Then each person can spoon out as much or as little pasta (carbohydrate!) into their dish as desired and then add the soup. When it’s time to put away the leftovers (if any), I continue to keep the pasta and soup separated. This keeps the pasta firm. If left in the soup all night, the pasta becomes gummy and loses it’s texture.
1 to 1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound thinly sliced beef skirt steak or sirloin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cups beef broth (chicken broth can be substituted)
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (15-ounce) can Cannellini (white kidney beans) drained
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well and set aside.
Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced beef to the skillet and cook, stirring, until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Drain excess fat, if any, and set browned beef aside.
Add another tablespoon or so of oil to the stockpot. Stir in chopped onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir the minced garlic into the pot and cook for another minute or so, just until the garlic is fragrant. Do not allow the garlic to brown.
Whisk in beef or chicken broth, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme. Add the browned beef (and any accumulated juices) to the pot along with 1 cup water (or broth); season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables and beef are tender and the soup has thickened to your desired consistency, about 15 to 30 minutes, or as needed. Taste for meat tenderness, and correct seasoning if necessary.
This soup is far better the second day!