Fast, because you have all the ingredients on hand already.  Economical, because canned goods and frozen veg are cheap.  Able to feed small children without a single complaint (because who doesn’t love novelty pasta shapes?).  Look!  In the pot!  It’s easy!  It’s a full meal!  It’s Supersoup!

Pantry pasta and bean soup

Yield:  About 4 qts., serving at least 8

1/2 lb. small pasta shapes

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

A small handful fresh sage leaves (or thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, or just parsley), finely chopped

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

2 1/2 qts. hot chicken or vegetable stock (or a combination of stock and bean-cooking liquid, if you have it)

1 15-oz can beans (or about 1 1/2 c. cooked, dried beans), rinsed and drained

1/2 c. frozen peas

Cook pasta in generously salted, boiling water until just tender.  Drain, rinse under cold running water until cool, drain again, and set aside.

Warm a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Drizzle in oil, then add carrots, celery, and onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and tender, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and sage, cook 2 minutes more.  Add tomatoes and raise heat to medium-high.  Cook, stirring, until tomato juices are almost evaporated.  Add stock and beans.  Bring to a simmer, add peas and pasta.  Serve as soon as peas and pasta are hot.

A tip for making pasta soups in advance: This soup will keep, refrigerated, for about 5 days.  To prevent the pasta from getting mushy, cool the soup to lukewarm before adding peas and cooked pasta (hot soup will continue to cook the pasta).  Then ladle into storage containers and chill in the fridge.  Or freeze the soup without the peas and pasta (add them both to the thawed and heated soup just before serving).

Make it gluten-free: If you have kids (or if you are a kid at heart), try Tinkyada’s brown rice pasta, which comes in all manner of adorable shapes.