Monday, February 10, 2014

Pantry Challenge...Mission Complete!

Well, it was a week ago today that I issued a small challenge for myself to cook strictly from my pantry using canned goods as my main ingredient.  I have to say that this was honestly one of the most fun weeks I have had in the kitchen in a long time!  When you begin to look at what you have in your pantry in new ways a whole new culinary world opens up to you!  Not to mention that the amount of food you will waste will be minimal. 
Now, I know I have posted several soups on here, but once again, here in the valley, we are being hammered with snow and soup is just the perfect thing to warm the body and soul.  So for the final recipe of this challenge, I will be making Pasta Fagioli!  I realize this is not a traditional pasta fagioli.  But since I am using what I have, I guess what is different about it is what will make it mine.  :)  One thing is for certain...IT IS DELICIOUS!
*Prep Time:  10 minutes  *Cook Time:  20 minutes  *Difficulty:  Easy  *Servings:  6-8 people
Here is what you will need:
  • 1 32oz can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 c. of your favorite pasta (I would not recommend spaghetti here though.)
  • 2 15oz. cans of Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 Ribs of Celery, diced 
  • 1 tsp. of Thyme
  • 1 tsp. of Rosemary
  • 2 Coves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Onion, large dice
  • 1 Link of Smoked Sausage
  • 8 c. of Water
  • 4 cubes of Chicken Bouillon
Tools you will need:
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Dutch Oven (or Pot with a lid)
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Ladle
I realize that smoked sausage is not traditional in this soup.  Usually, IF you put a protein in it, it will call for pancetta.  Let's be real.  I live in the hills of WV.  When you can find pancetta it will cost you and arm and a leg.  I could substitute with bacon, but I like something a little heartier in my soups so I think this is a great alternative.  To begin, cut your smoked sausage in half, and then, cut your halves in half.  If that is as confusing to you as it sounds to me, at the end, you should have 4 pieces.  Then I like to cut them in little half moons.  Not for any reason other than that's the way I like it. 
Now you are going to pre-heat your pot with a couple table spoons of olive oil.  Then, add your sausage.  When it begins to caramelize and brown, remove from pot and set to the side.
Add your onions and cook till translucent.  It doesn't matter if it is a white, red, or yellow onion.  Whatever you have will be fine.  Once your onions are soft, add your garlic.  Let the garlic cook until you smell it. 
Then add your carrots and celery.  Just an FYI, when I buy celery and carrots I am not usually going to use them all right away.  I like to peel my carrots and freeze them, as well as the celery.  The consistency is a little soft when they thaw, but they are still perfect for saut├ęs and stews. 
Now throw in all your spices.  Remember, they have been sitting for a while and need a little TLC to get their flavor juices going again!
Once everything looks like this, you can...
Add your meat...

crushed tomatoes...


And beans to your pot. 
Put the lid on and set your timer for 20 minutes.

At the 10 minute mark, add your pasta.  As you can tell, I used elbow macaroni here, but any small pasta will do.  Traditionally they use ditalini. 

After 10 more minutes, you will have a thick, warm, hearty winter stew that is sure to cut through the most frigid winter nights! 
Top with a little Parmesan and Parsley and TA-DA!  YUM!
Look at those beans, and pasta, and vegetables.  So good and so good for you!
So there you have it!  The final recipe of The Pantry Cooking Challenge!  I hope you have enjoyed trying these recipes as much as I have and as always....
Happy Reading, Happy Eating, and Happy Living,
~The Kitchen Wife~


  1. Ohhhhh I was hoping you would post this recipe! I saw the picture last night & wanted some!!