Pasta comes in many shapes and sizes and there are special ones made to be used in soups. Tubettini, Tubetti, Orzo, Acini di Pepe, Stelline, Pastina, Seme di Melone, Funghetti, Ditalini, Farfalline are just some of the names and shapes that are created to go in Minestre or Zuppe. The Pasta part of Pasta e Fagioli uses any of these shapes as one of it’s star ingredients. I love using these shapes the same way one would use rice, couscous, barley, farro, etc. Mixing it with a few ingredients will give you a hearty side dish, or a substantial main dish. Your choice. Here’s a recipe I developed and the family loved it so I have to blog it for you. I think you’ll like it too.
TIME: 30 minutes SERVES: 4-6
1 lb. TUBETTINI (COOKED AL DENTE, ACCORDING TO THE PACKAGE DIRECTIONS)
2 TBS. OLIVE OIL
2 MEDIUM ZUCCHINI, SMALL DICE
1/4 LB. SLICED PROSCIUTTO, THEN DICED, FOR THIS SMALL PASTA YOU WANT THE PROSCIUTTO TO BE SAME SIZE AS THE PASTA
2 SLICED GARLIC CLOVES
KOSHER SALT, CRACKED BLACK PEPPER
1/8 CUP GRATED PECORINO ROMANO OR PARMIGIANO REGGIANO, MORE FOR ADDING WHEN SERVED
Let’s start out with noting the absence of an herb here. It’s superfluous. You will loose the nuance of the prosciutto here, so let the cheese be the additional flavor with the garlic and oil. Sometimes American Italian food is over “greened” with unnecessary herbs, especially that parsley garnish. Want to cook more “Italian”? Let’s start with the less is more approach. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While that is happening in a wide heavy skillet/pan, add the olive oil and heat it on medium. Add the zucchini, sprinkle with some salt and let this cook for a good 10 minutes. Shake the pan a few times to move the zucchini around to cook on all sides. Then add the prosciutto. Make sure you’ve taken care to cook the pasta only to the Al Dente point, then drain, reserve 3 tbs of the starchy cooking water. Cook the prosciutto for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, cooking another 3 minutes. Now Add the drained Tubettini and coat well with the zucchini and prosciutto, Add the reserved water and cook for only 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add 1/8 cup of the grated cheese now. Blend well. TASTE now and see if any more salt is necessary, If so, lightly add more, and add the black pepper as well. Toss well. We are ready to eat! You may want to add just a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top…and more grated cheese. That’s what I would do.. You do as you like and I hope you like this visit with me in my kitchen. Happy Cooking!