Pasta e Fagioli, not a sweet treat, of course, but a really comforting soup. Lois Rogers photo
Pasta e Fagioli, not a sweet treat, of course, but a really comforting soup. Lois Rogers photo

The Holy Season of Lent is a time when folks may be looking for tasty, easy-to-prepare meatless meals. Over the years, The Monitor’s freelance writer Lois Rogers has created a library of meals in her Keeping the Feast column. Check out all of her recipes at: TrentonMonitor.com/Keeping-the-Feast!

Pasta and bean soup, widely known in the Italian as Pasta e Fagioli, a Lenten mainstay in our family, was always pulled together mainly from ingredients in Mom’s pantry closet. Light on the garlic, she often added a bit of escarole or spinach and sometimes, carrots.

Dad enjoyed brewing his own version, too, and he went heavier on the garlic, onions, spices and canned tomatoes. Warm memories of their comforting creations – always pronounced “pasta fazhul” or some facsimile thereof by generations of Rogers and Racioppis – came to mind last week.

Prayer, good conversation and comfort food are what I turn to when things get really stressful, as they have through the coronavirus fallout. There has been no shortage of prayer and good conversation with good friends thanks to electronic communication.

But comfort food is another story. The Maria Cookies I crave didn’t last long. Two big, frozen chunks of the Italian Christmas Panettone had been gobbled up. The honey was running low.

But then, I thought of Pasta e Fagioli – not a sweet treat, of course, but a really comforting soup – and decided a blended version of Mom and Dad’s soups would do just fine. Most of the ingredients were in the pantry, but two key ones – the beans and the diced tomatoes – were missing.

The stress of the trip to the supermarket where shelves were bare of the much-noted paper products, hand sanitizers and water was relieved by finding the last remaining cans of beans and diced tomatoes in the store. Finding them was like finding buried treasure.

The best part of it was that the soup was economical, easy to make, and something I was happy to share with some neighbors in our community, where the bus has been canceled for the foreseeable future.

God is good.

 

Table Prayer

Lord, let my Lenten sacrifice remind me of my desire for my heavenly home.

May my exile help me grow in solidarity with refugees everywhere: sharing food for the journey,

rest for the weary, protection for the vulnerable, until together we work our way home to you.

(Excerpted from “Our True Homeland is Heaven,” a Lenten prayer of solidarity with our global family.)

Source: Catholic Relief Services