Soup-er Tuesday: Why pasta e fagioli is the best-ever comfort food

This will become one of your favorite soup recipes.
This will become one of your favorite soup recipes. (Jack Roskopp)

Comfort food is the best, isn’t it?

It may not be the best for your diet, but when you need an extra ounce of comfort in your day, a tasty bowl of soup can be the perfect answer -- and there is nothing better than the Italian classic pasta e fagioli.

You’ve probably seen this soup on the menu at most Italian restaurants, including the popular chain Olive Garden. It’s a hearty soup, filled with ditalini noodles, white beans, tomatoes, kale and meat. If you’ve ever had minestrone soup, it’s kind of like that. They are practically soup cousins.

I had never tried pasta e fagioli until I got chef Carla Lalli Music’s cookbook about a year ago.

Music used to work at Bon Appetit magazine, so I was familiar with her recipes and cooking videos.

While thumbing through her cookbook, I was immediately drawn to the soup recipe. I wasn’t entirely sure how to pronounce the full name of it, but the photo of the soup made me stop in my tracks. The rich, golden broth sprinkled with parmesan and drizzled with olive oil immediately caught my eye, and I knew I had to make it.

Now, the recipe has become my new go-to whenever I’m craving a big bowl of soup on a Sunday afternoon. It’s low maintenance, packed with tons of flavor and you’re able to riff on it with certain ingredients.

You start out by making a sofrito. You dice up carrots, onion and garlic until they’re teeny tiny. It helps if you have a food processor for this step. You cook the sofrito in your pot at low heat in olive oil, so it builds flavor.

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