Pasta E Fagioli

Lately, we have been creating several, delicious pasta recipes in school, and as much as I love pasta, I have to control myself from devouring every dish we make. Talk about carb-overload!  However, this Pasta E Fagioli (pasta with beans) recipe is one of my favorites so far, and I want to share it.  This recipe is more of a country-style dish that is great for feeding a family or for a romantic date night with a bottle of wine.

We had a big student production day in class and afterwards I was talking to my Chef about how a recipe with several ingredients and a lot of prep makes me nervous, but in the end, it’s easy and there was nothing to stress about to begin with.  It’s funny because I think that’s why a lot of people don’t cook more often.  We stray away from recipes which require extra TLC, but those are the recipes that are the best and they aren’t really as complex as we think.  For example, this Pasta E Fagioli requires a list of ingredients and a little extra time cutting and prepping, but once everything is in the pot, you are basically finished.  The end result is delicious and crowd pleasing!

For this recipe you will need:

1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 oz. Pancetta, small dice
4 oz. cranberry beans, soaked overnight
4 oz. onions, small dice
2 oz. carrot, small dice
2 oz. celery, small dice
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1 leaf sage, chopped
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 qt (4 cups) water or chicken stock
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 oz. tubetti pasta
1 oz. parmesan
Salt and pepper
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

*this recipe probably feeds up to 3 people, so if you need a larger batch, I would double each ingredient.

First, dice pancetta and cook over low-medium heat in a medium sauce pot.  If the pancetta is not rendering a lot of fat, you can add some olive oil or butter to do that.  Cook the pancetta until brown and crispy and then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Then, sweat the mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery) in the pancetta fat, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook the vegetables until onions are translucent and everything appears tender.  Then, add the minced garlic and cook to aroma, about 2 minutes.

Add 1 Tbsp tomato pasta and pincer (cook out). Then, add the rosemary, sage, cranberry beans, and water or chicken stock.  (Do NOT salt anything until the very end because salt inhibits the tenderness of the beans.)  Bring the mixture to a steady boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.  The beans will take about an hour to cook and become tender, so keep everything cooking low and slow.

Once the beans are tender, transfer half of the mixture to a blender and blend for 30 secs until smooth.  Combine everything back into the sauce pot, turn on low heat, and add the tubetti pasta.  You may need to add a tad more water or chicken stock because the pasta will absorb a lot of liquid.  Cook until the noodles are al dente.  Don’t forget we did not season yet, so season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with crispy pancetta and parmesan!

Don’t be turned off by recipes that crave more of your creative touch.  The recipes that look the hardest actually end up being the most fun.  I hope you love this dish as much as I do, and whoever you share it with, will LOVE you!

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