Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Slow cooker pasta and bean soup recipe

Pasta and bean soup is another old favourite from student days. I always had the ingredients for this in the cupboard as it was a lovely meal to throw together for friends who dropped by. In the original recipe (from one of my first cook books, "The Friends cook book" - kind of dates me, doesn't it?), you first fry the garlic and rosemary together before adding the tomatoes and the kitchen would fill with wonderful aromas which just kept on getting better as the soup cooked and more ingredients were added. I've tried to get the same effect here with less work and no standing around as good smells mean you've released the essential oils in the herbs which is just what we want. This is really easy and friendly weekend food. It was another Sunday night soup special for us.


4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsps fresh rosemary or 1 dried
1 can chopped tomatoes
5 cups (1.25 litres) chicken or vegetable stock, made with 2 cubes
6 oz / 150 g pasta shapes, such as macaroni or tiny shells
2 cans of beans - I usually use cannelini and you need to rinse them
Olive oil to drizzle over the top
Parmesan to serve


Boil a kettle for the stock. Put the rosemary and garlic into your slow cooker. Once your kettle is boiling, add the correct amount of boiling water for the stock to your slow cooker, then add everything else except the pasta. This allows the good aromas to develop. Cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8.

About 30 minutes before you want to eat (if you use big pasta shapes) or 15 minutes of you use a bijoux little soup pasta, switch the slow cooker to High if it isn't already and tip the pasta into the soup. Give it a stir to submerge, keeping the lid off for as short a time as possible so as not to lose heat.

Your soup is done when the pasta is al dente.

I often serve this with olive bread and a green salad alongside.


These tastes are a really nice variation on the other pasta and bean soups I've had. I love rosemary and it complements the beans really well. I love the way the pasta soaks up all the great tastes.

I think you can see from the photo the one thing that went wrong with this. I simply used way too much pasta - far more than I've stated here. If you want to make a meal of this soup as we often do with the stove top version, then the secret is to double the rest of the recipe so you have enough pasta to be filling but don't soak up all the soup in cooking it. Not that this wasn't still a fabulous meal but it was more of a stew.

Do try this soup soon - I can't emphasise how tasty it is for so little work. You'll probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

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