Pasta and bean soup pairs up nicely with a simple lettuce salad and a crusty bread.


Known as Pasta e Fagioli, this may be one of Italy's most famous soups. The combination of pasta and beans is heart-warming, and can be made for two or a crowd. It's perfect to serve to friends. Leave the pot on the stove for everyone to help themselves.

In Italy cooks use the last bits of pasta remaining in various opened boxes - a great way to use up leftover pasta. This recipe calls for acini di pepe, a small round pasta used mostly for soups. Any type of small pasta can be used.

Serve with a simple salad and crusty bread.

Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)

Serves: 2

• 1 1/2 cups rinsed and drained cannellini beans

• 2 cups canned, no-salt-added, whole tomatoes including the juice

• 1 cup sliced celery

• 1 teaspoon minced garlic

• 2 cups nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1/4 cup acini di pepe pasta

• 1/2 cup fresh basil

• Salt and pepper

• 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Place beans, tomatoes and their liquid, celery and garlic in a large saucepan. Add the chicken broth and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with the edge of a spoon. Cover, lower the heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes. Add the oil and pasta. Boil, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Add the basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the soup in bowls and pass the Parmesan to sprinkle on top.

Per serving: 538 calories (30 percent from fat), 17.9 g fat (4 g saturated, 11 g monounsaturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 26.8 g protein, 71.6 g carbohydrates, 13.9 g fiber, 805 mg sodium.