Pasta Fagioli Serves 4
This classic Italian pasta and bean dish is irresistibly good and cheap! Kids especially love it. You can speed up cooking time by preparing beans in a pressure cooker.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours

1 cup dried kidney beans
6 cups water
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups canned stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces whole-grain pasta elbows, shells, or macaroni
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1 tablespoon dried basil

1. Soak beans overnight. Drain off soaking water, rinse beans, and drain again. Put soaked beans into a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot with 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beans are tender. Drain excess liquid, leaving just enough to make a gravylike sauce.

2. Sauté onions, garlic, carrots, and green pepper in olive oil until tender. Add to beans, along with tomatoes and salt. Simmer 20 minutes.

3. In a separate pot, bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse well. Gently stir pasta and basil into the beans and serve.