Pasta e Fagioli (aka: pasta fazool)


pronounced: pasta EH fah-JOE-lee
Makes 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta bacon, or prosciutto ham diced (optional)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, diced small
  • 1/2- cup celery, diced small
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, leave whole or slice
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (or 2 cups dried beans, soaked, rinsed and cooked in the stock until tender)
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock or equivalent water and bouillon
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or puree (optional)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary and/or thyme, or use dry
  • 1/2 lb. dried short tubular pasta, such as ditalini or other cooked 'al dente', drained and rinsed under cool water
  • Pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated cheese (Parmesan, Romano or Asiago), to taste
  • Crusty bread, croutons or bruschetta

Method:

1. Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta (if using), cooking it until golden brown.
2. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and herbs stirring well.
3. Season lightly with salt, pepper and cayenne (if using).
4. Cook until onions and celery start becoming translucent.
5. Add stock, tomato puree (if using), beans and bring to a simmer, covered.
6. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
7. When vegetables are tender, take off from heat and cool slightly.
8. Add pasta (if you plan on having left-overs or you're making the soup ahead of time, you can keep the pasta separate and add it as needed, so it doesn't become soggy).
9. Serve topped with freshly grated cheese & crusty bread, croutons or bruschetta.

Variations:

Add chickpeas or different kinds of beans.
Add Italian, chorizo or other kind of sausage.
Make a flavorful stock ahead of time with bones, veggies or a smoked hock.
Deglaze the pan with the pancetta and/or veggies with some dry white wine.
Add a shot each of Tabasco (or other hot sauce) and Worcestershire sauce.

Copyleft (2010) The Budget Gourmet

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