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(post, Amanda Wall)
There is a local restaurant that makes the best pasta e fagioli, and I can't go too long without some, especially in these dark winter months. The other day I was inspired to make my own - but with a twist. Instead of using pasta, I used quinoa. In the end, it turned out much thicker than soup - but that was ok by me. And I made it vegetarian - but you could easily adapt this for meat-eaters by using chicken broth to cook the quinoa and sauteing some pancetta or prosciutto with the onion. Quinoa e fagioli 1 cup uncooked quinoa 2 cups vegetable broth 2 Tbls olive oil, plus more for drizzling 1 medium onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced (or more, if you're me) 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes 1 15-oz. Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried parsley 1/2 tsp dried oregano dash of Tabasco Sauce dash of Liquid Smoke (may be eliminated if you use the pancetta or prosciutto) salt and pepper to taste Parmesan cheese for topping In medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Rinse the quinoa and add to the broth. Bring the broth back to a simmer, cover, and let cook 15-20 or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked (you'll see the spiral-shaped germ ring appear). Fluff with a fork and set aside. In a large saute pan, saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the tomatoes, beans, basil, parsley, oregano, Tabasco Sauce, and Liquid Smoke. Stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, spoon into shallow bowls and top with drizzled olive oil and parmesan cheese.