No, it isn't an Italian curse. Packed with beans, pasta and veggies, this is a delicious, fully loaded concoction that falls somewhere between a spoonable soup and a forkable pasta dish.
1 tbsp olive oil, or vegetable oil
1 small carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, squished
3 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
1 540-mL can red or white kidney beans, undrained
1/2 cup small pasta, like shells, ditali or elbows
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
Now, dump about half of the can of beans (and the liquid) into a small bowl. With a potato masher (or a fork), have your child mash the beans until they are quite disintegrated. Add the mashed beans to the pot with the veggies, then stir in the remaining unmashed beans and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender but not mushy (about 8 to 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste. (If you are using canned chicken broth you may not need additional salt.) Serve immediately, or spoon into a Thermos and send to school along with a small container of grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling.
Nifty Trick: Pasta will soak up liquid and soften if not eaten immediately after cooking. If you plan to send this in a Thermos, undercook the pasta slightly, and leave the mixture pretty soupy. You can add extra chicken broth, if necessary, when reheating.
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