This is a quick riff on my childhood New York Italian restaurant favorite: Pasta e Fagioli, a thick tomatoey soup stuffed with white beans, pasta, and a smattering of pancetta.
This version is both easy and different. I begin with a bit of olive oil and some chopped carrots, onions, and celery, to add vegetal crunch to the soup. But, you can omit this without sacrificing flavor if you want to make this soup even quicker. Add storebought marinara sauce and vegetable or chicken broth, bring to a boil and add in the creamy canned cannellini beans.
Finally, my special ingredient: baby tortellini stuffed with either pancetta or prosciutto. It adds that smoky hammy saltiness to the soup, and that hearty stew-like texture. In the end, if I have them on hand, I stir in some parmesan or sliced prosciutto. At its barest bones, this soup is four-ingredient, five-minute dinner redolent of backroom New York Italian.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small carrot, chopped (optional)
- 2 small celery stalks, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 small onion, chopped (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups tomato basil or marinara sauce
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can of cannellini beans
- 1 pound any ham tortellini, such as pancetta or prosciutto, preferably mini-sized
- Grated Parmesan to garnish
- Thinly sliced prosciutto to garnish (optional)
Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat and add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, and stir often until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and broth, and bring to a rolling boil. Add the beans and ham tortellini, cover and cook until the tortellini are just cooked (follow package directions, about 2 minutes). Ladle into bowls and top with Parmesan and prosciutto.