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Pasta and Bean Soup

Our version of the Italian classic pasta e fagioli is thin and light, partly because of the fresh beans. If your fava beans aren't young and tender, add them to the soup a little earlier.

  • Yield: Serves 6

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February/March 1992


Vegetable Stock

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 leeks, washed well and chopped
  • 3 carrots, washed and chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Fresh sage
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 6 cups cold water


  • 3 pounds fresh fava beans (about 1 1/2 cups shelled)
  • 3 pounds fresh lima beans (about 1 1/2 cups shelled)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound thin spaghetti, broken into thirds
  • 3 fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish


  1. In a large pot, combine all stock ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 1 hour. Strain, pressing on vegetables to extract juices. Discard vegetables and set liquid aside.

  2. Blanch fava beans for 30 seconds and pop them out of their skins; set aside. If favas are young and tender, they'll require very little further cooking.

  3. Pour stock into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add limas and bring to a simmer. Cook until beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring liquid to a boil and add pasta; cook until al dente. In the last minute of cooking, add tomatoes and favas.

  4. Roll mint and basil leaves tightly and slice thin, to achieve a fine chiffonade; ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a generous pinch.

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