Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Pasta e Fagioli - Pasta and Beans


Pasta e Fagioli or Pasta and Beans is a simple dish of pasta and beans and can be made dozens of ways. It can be made thick or thin and with or without a bit of leftover beef or pancetta. It is a satisfying dish served with a drizzle of good olive oil, some grated Parmesan cheese and some fresh bread.

You will need:
  • *optional - 1 piece of cooked steak or leftover roast is great here or a few sliced of chopped pancetta 
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 fresh tomatoes or 1 small can diced 
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 x 14 oz. cans of cannellini beans - I can is rinsed and pulsed and the other is rinsed and whole
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups ditale or tubetti pasta
  • optional : a rind from Parmesan cheese, 5-6 chopped artichokes canned or jarred

  • serving suggestions: pour on some good extra virgin olive oil, grate some Parmesan cheese, drizzle some aged balsamic vinegar, add some fresh chopped basil or parsley



This is a great place to use a piece of leftover steak/roast or slice of ham/pancetta. If you are planning on using a piece of meat you can cook it separately and once cooked add it to the soup. I have prepared this steak by sprinkling meat with a bit of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and sauteing it in a pan with olive oil. Once seared I slowly cooked it in some red wine for an hour until it was tender. If you are using some pancetta or ham you can add it to the vegetables and saute.


Step 1:  in a food processor add your sofrito. Onion, carrot, celery, garlic. Mince until fine.


Step 2: add fresh rosemary and fresh basil. Mice again.


Step 3: in a pot add sofrito, good quality extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes on medium heat. If you are using some prosciutto or pancetta (un-smoked bacon) saute it at this stage with the vegetables. You can also omit the meat entirely.


Step 4: add tomatoes and oregano to the food processor (you can use canned if you prefer) and blend until it creates a tomato puree. Remove to a small bowl.


Step 5: add 1 can of cannellini beans to processor and puree. This will be used as your thickener and the second can is left whole in the soup.


chop or shred your meat if using.


Step 6: add meat, tomatoes, and pureed beans. Mix well.


Step 7: add bay leaf and chicken/vegetable broth and if you have any leftover Parmesan cheese rinds
(I keep them in a bag in the freezer) or some artichokes. Let simmer on medium-low for 30-40 minutes. 


Step 8: add your ditali or tubetti pasta and cook another 15 minutes. 


thinner soup with beef


thicker version made with a bit of pancetta

You can make this soup thick or thinner by adding more or less broth. You can serve with a drizzle of good olive oil or aged balsamic vinegar. Add some fresh chopped basil or a grating of fresh Parmesan.

















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