I love autumn...the leaves start to change into brilliant shades of yellow, red and orange, skies are bright blue but there is a chill in the air, and you can start to eat yummy soups and chili for dinner again.
Luckily, my kids (6 and 2) are pretty agreeable to eating chunky soups - at least most of the time. We’ve conditioned them to like all kinds of beans, so when we throw in beans and sometimes small pastas, they never seem to notice the sneaky vegetables hiding in the soup. Hee hee. I’ve done a lot of experimenting to see what I can get the kids to eat without fussing.
Here is one of the recipes for kid-friendly pasta fagioli that I’ve come up with. The original recipe is from a Rachael Ray, but I’ve tweaked it a bit.
4-5 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small (or 1/2 large) yellow onion
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped (chop same size as carrot and onion)
1 bay leaf
1 clove of garlic (optional)
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 can (15 oz) of cannellini beans (or white beans or black-eye peas, whatever you have on hand)
1 cup small pasta (like orzo or small salad pasta, again whatever you have on hand)
Heat a large saucepot (I use a dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add bacon to the pan and cook until crispy. Add the bay leaf, garlic, onion, celery and carrot to the pan and cook until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, stir into mixture and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, water and beans to the pot and bring liquids up to bubble. Cook for about 10 minutes and then bring up to a boil. Add pasta to the liquid and cook until tender (cook time according to package directions).
Once pasta is done, serve.
I sometimes make crunchy croutons to put on top. If I don’t have the time or inclination to make croutons then I serve it with bread for dipping in soup. Hope you like it as much as we do!