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Pasta E Fagioli

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For his Pasta E Fagioli, Canora purees half the beans before adding them to the pot. It’s an unusually lush take on the classic soup.
I’ve had many versions of this dish over the years, and the thing that varies most is the consistency. I’ve had “fagioli” served as a thin broth with pasta, a hearty pasta dressed with a sauce of beans and puree, and almost everything in between. There’s no right way. Use the puree, thinning or thickening it, to get things the way you want them. Personally, I like pasta e fagioli hearty- more a pasta dish than a soup. If you do too, follow the recipe as is; if not, add more broth. Either way, do add a little broth just before serving (the pasta and beans keep on absorbing liquid as they sit, so I always add a little fresh broth to get the consistency right and to wake up the flavor.)

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Ingredients

  • 4 oz prosciutto or pancetta cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 oz smoked slab bacon cut into 4 pieces
  • 6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups cooked borlotti or other beans, cooking liquid reserved
  • 1 pound ditalini pasta (or other small tubed pasta)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

Details

Adapted from google.com

Preparation

Step 1

Combine the prosciutto or pancetta, bacon and oil in a large pot. Cook over medium heat, turning the pieces regularly, until the fat renders. When the meat begins to brown, about 7 minutes, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper and stir to coat the onions with the sizzling fat. Fry the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and begin to color, about 10 minutes more.
Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add the rosemary and sage.
Cook for a minute or two, then stir in the tomato paste. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the mixture until it concentrates and darkens, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and half of beans and simmer over medium heat.
Meanwhile, puree the remaining beans in a blender with just enough of the bean liquid or water to allow the blade to rotate, about ¾ cup (you want the bean puree to be as thick as possible). Simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.
Remove pieces of the cured meat and discard them. Season the bean mixture with salt and pepper and keep warm over low heat. Or you can cool and refrigerate or freeze the beans for later use.
About 10 minutes before you plan to serve, cook pasta in a large pot boiling salted water. When it’s almost al dente, lift the pasta from the boiling water and add it to the bean mixture. Stir in the butter and Parmigiano. Add a few grinds of pepper and simmer until the pasta is done. Ladle the pasta e fagioli into warm bowls and serve drizzled with oil.

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