As my friend Andrea knows, as I secretly revealed this to her, the horror of it, the creeping-around-ness of it, I like to drive to Santa Monica to pay homage to Guido Marcello, the purveyor of Italian foods that hides away off of Olympic Boulevard, not for the exquisite proscuitto or the Italian truffles or even the handmade breads, but for the simple packets of Star-brand pasta e fagioli, an reconstituted-yet-exotic version of Cup-a-Soup.
The simple truth is that pasta e fagioli, the most warming soup one can imagine, a hearty blend of beans and pasta, infused with rosemary and olive oil, is impossibly easy to make. I adapted this recipe by Giada Di Laurentiis. It takes about 30 minutes. I leave the little cheesecloth packet of rosemary and thyme just a little longer than she does, and added swiss chard to boost the winter anti-oxidants (and provide some color). But it's a cinch.