There’s not much for me to say here that you don’t know already..that PASTA E FAGIOLI or the more Italian-American name, PASTA FAZOOL is one of the most Popular dishes from the Italian kitchen. Let me add that no one’s recipe is the “RIGHT” one, here, or in Italy. It is a loaded bowl of beans and macaroni, a dish of fuel to keep one going and when researching or learning about Italian cuisine one learns that Italy is 20something regions that are different from each other. Their locations are varied and can be warm sundrenched seashore to frigid Alpine peaks. Basically the region will absolutely dictate what beans, pasta and other ingredients go into that pot. Let’s complicate this more with personal preferences ,thicker versus more soup-like. Throw the monkeywrench of the Italian-American cuisine into the pot and now the versions are hybrids of different immigrant Italian styles and American additions. My bottom line here is to never, never shake your head in disgust at someone’s version of Pasta e Fagioli because it doesn’t match your definition. No one’s will, however some will probably come close or can even be exacty. There is NO “authentic” original recipe for this so don’t even look for it. So what am I blogging about then? My most basic version to which you can add, subtract, but this is how I generally go about making my PASTA E FAGIOLI.
TIME: 1 1/2-3 hours SERVES: 6
Let also just start off here saying..type of beans…tomato or not…type of pasta..cured pork or not…all personal preferences. And here’s another one…this Idea of the al dente pasta and bean soup..again..just my taste so you take it from there…but this is soup, it’s not a plated entree/secondo. Somewhere along the line chefs with some influence decided that a soup should be something ripe with different textures from soft to chewy. I disagree. It’s soup. That level of comfort I derive from it is because soup always had a well cooked load of pasta,meat, vegetables, beans in it. I really don’t think that the people we learned these dishes from who would probably be over 100years old now added pasta after the dish was cooked and then served it. I’d bet more than likely, the pasta was a. cooked in the soup b. cooked separately then added. but the soup was left to simmer, or sit for a bit, or for the next day. I’ll put my blinders up and let you and your tastebuds decide how you want to have your components cooked but i’m in the soft comforting “old school” soup camp.
1/4 finely diced Prosciutto rind or Pancetta
2 tbs. OliveOil
2 stalks small diced Celery
2 peeled carrots, cut into a small dice
2 onions small dice
2 GARLIC cloves, finely minced
pinch of Peperoncino
pinch of Oregano, Sicilian is best if you can find it
1 lb of cooked beans (cooked yourself OR canned)LIKE Cannellini, Borolotti, Great Northern
1tbs Tomato paste
1 cup Italian Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 lb. cooked Al Dente TUBETTINI OR DITALINI PASTA
1 cup water or stock
OPTIONAL: small Parmigiano cheese rind
In a soup pot…heat the olive oil and prosciutto or pancetta. Once that’s taken on some color, add the onions, celery and carrots. Saute’ for at least 8 minutes on medium. Now add the garlic, peperoncino, pinch of salt,oregano. Let this saute’ for 2 minutes then add the tomato paste. Stir this as you saute’ for 2 minutes. Now add the cup of Crushed Italian tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Now add the cup of stock /water. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Add the beans at this point. Let this simmer for 1/2 hour, stirring frequently. If you are using the Parmigiano rind, add it now before you start to simmer. When the simmering is done, add the pasta. Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn it off. Taste for seasoning. If you are good with it, add a tbs of grated parmigiano or pecorino, a drizzle of olive oil and cover pushing it back on the stove. Let this sit for at least 3 hours before serving. Now PAY ATTENTION HERE…look at my picture..this is how it will look. If you like it more loose, use more stock when creating it. If you like it more on the creamy/thick side, puree’ 1/8 cup of the beans and stir that in before your simmer it. Use extra cheese and olive oil AND ground black pepper or peperoncino and a pinch of oregano or a basil leaf (optional) before serving. Also, TIP/HINT..taste the soup after you let it sit and before serving. It may need more seasoning.
I like this whole deal better on day 2…just my opinion, now make this yourself and enjoy!!