Pasta with Beans 


(“Pasta con Fagioli” – “Pasta e Fasuoli”)

 

                                 pasta fagioli

 

The soup of Pasta e Fasuoli is one of the most known minestra among food lovers and not exclusively Italian-Americans.
This soup is made all over Italy, and every region tries to add different ingredients to make it more tasty, but most of the time the various components of the soup add so many flavors that the taste of beans is hardly noticeable. In north Italy the traditional ingredients used are carrots, celery, onions, lard, garlic, sage, parsley and bay leaves; as you go down the boot the ingredients decrease and in the southern tip of Italy, in Calabria, where grounded fennel seeds are added, the soup has a faint taste of beans because it’s overwhelmed by the strong fennel aroma.
The traditional Pasta e Fagioli in Sicily is made with soaked dry beans, onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, some lard or prociutto’s skin and even more important, the pasta has to be cooked with the beans, which gives that traditional homemade taste not found in restaurant cooking. To make the vegetarian version, eliminate the lard or prociutto’s skin.

 

SERVES 4 TO 6

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. dry beans, soaked for 36 to 48 hours
  • ¾ lb. ditalini or spaghetti broken very short 
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon of lard or ½ lb. Prociutto‘s skin (optional)
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on the pasta

 

PREPARATION

The Beans
Inspect dry beans for any small stones or foreign article, rinse well. Soak the beans in a large pot with plenty of water for 36 to 48 hours, changing the water

two or three times.

 

                          fagioli 2

 

In a 5 ½ quart sauté pan, place 3 tablespoons of oil, the diced onion and the optional skin or lard. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Add drained beans and enough water to be 2 inches above the beans.  Bring to a boil then simmer covered for 45 minutes. Keep a pot with boiling water, to add to beans for cooking pasta or if the soup becomes too dry. Liquid should be 1 inch above beans. Test beans for doneness if they are ready set aside, or simmer beans until soft but not overcooked. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and black pepper to your taste. Cool a few minutes, transfer 1/3 of beans to a vegetable strainer or a blender, puree them and return to the pot.

 

The Pasta
Add 2 cups of hot water to the beans soup, bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook pasta and fagioli at a medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom.  If it becomes to dry add some of the boiling water. When pasta is tender, taste and adjusts for salt.

 

The Serving
Remove from the heat, add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and serve with crushed red pepper on the side.

 

“Pasta con Fagioli Veloce”

 

“Pasta e Fasuoli Presto”)

 

                            fagioli espresso

 

Pasta with Beans can be prepared quickly, using canned beans that taste almost as good as the beans soaked overnight.
Use 2 cans of 14 oz. beans; drain the beans and rinse under running water.

Sautee onions and lard. Mash 1 can of beans using a fork, vegetable strainer or a blender to puree them, add to the pot; add the other can of beans and  enough water to be 2 inches above the beans level.

Follow above directions. 

In the picture above: cannellini beans and broken spaghetti.