The Ingredient Swap You Need For An Upgraded Pasta E Fagioli

pot of pasta e fagioli
pot of pasta e fagioli - Rudisill/Getty Images

Pasta e fagioli recipes are typically packed full of hearty ingredients. In addition to pasta, you'll also find cannellini beans, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and assorted seasonings. When it comes to pasta selection, this beloved Italian soup usually calls for ditalini, which is a pasta known for its tubular design and diminutive shape. If not ditalini, smaller pasta shapes are typically recommended as a substitute. However, there is an alternative to these traditional choices that can make for an enhanced meal.

Instead of small pasta, consider using ring-like tortellini in its place. This pasta is a far cry from varieties usually associated with pasta e fagioli, as it's a lot more substantial. It also comes stuffed with a variety of tasty ingredients, such as prosciutto or ricotta cheese. While tortellini are excellent for adding new flavors, they also make pasta e fagioli a lot more filling. With this swap, you can turn a humble bowl of Italian soup into a full-fledged meal.

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What To Consider When Choosing Tortellini

stuffed tortellini pasta
stuffed tortellini pasta - Bingokid/Getty Images

Some upgraded pasta e fagioli preparations use cheese tortellini, while others call for varieties stuffed with cured meat. While both options are bound to be flavorful additions to the soup, each will have a distinct impact on the flavor profile.

Tortellini can feature many cheeses, including ricotta. When it comes to ricotta, you can expect a subtle flavor coupled with a decadently creamy texture. This might be a good option if you want to complement the other flavors in the soup without overwhelming them. Keep in mind that some tortellini feature a combination of multiple cheeses, while others only include a single selection.

If you're seeking a bolder flavor profile, cured meat such as prosciutto could work well. A fatty, salty cured ham, it's one the best types of meat to include in a charcuterie board, but the flavor of prosciutto can vary. Some types may offer a robust earthy flavor, while others might have hints of sweetness. There's also pancetta, which is a cured pork belly with an intense pork flavor.

How Pasta Shapes Can Impact Your Pasta E Fagioli Recipe

types of pasta on spoons
types of pasta on spoons - Rawf8/Getty Images

The shape of pasta serves an important purpose when it comes to recipes, beyond its impact on aesthetics. While the shape of pasta does not influence flavor, it does affect how the other ingredients are carried and distributed. For example, pasta with holes in the center (which includes both ditalini and tortellini) can trap sauce and hearty ingredients in the middle. On the other hand, long, thin pasta like spaghetti effectively absorbs sauces but isn't a good choice when it comes to things like beans, as the noodles are too thin to hang onto substantial ingredients.

Keep in mind that pasta e fagioli recipes often feature ingredients like carrots, celery, shallots, garlic, and even chopped cured meats. These robust ingredients need an equally robust pasta to tie the dish together. And while ditalini is an oft-recommended addition to recipes, tortellini can hold its own in a hearty and filling pasta e fagioli soup.

Read the original article on Daily Meal