I don’t have a lot of time today – book to finish and all that – so I decided to share a family recipe – Pasta Fagioli. Italian for “beans and pasta”, this dish is great on a cold winter night. Contrary to what The Olive Garden restaurant servers tell customers – Pasta Fagioli is NOT Italian chili. Traditionally, there’s no meat in this dish!!
This recipe can be doubled (use 2 bags of beans and 2 cans diced tomatoes) or even halved. I have to double it because Older Son
I don’t soak the beans for hours ahead. It’s not necessary. You can if you want, but I don’t bother.
1 bag white beans (I use navy beans or whatever small white beans my grocery store carries). Remember to check for small stones.
4 or 5 cloves of garlic (or to taste)
3 or 4 celery stalks cut in large chunks (0r to taste)
1 – 14 oz can diced Italian seasoned diced tomatos
1 – 14 oz can of tomato sauce (NOT jar sauce)
1 lb box of ditalini
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Prepare as follows:
1. Dump the beans, tomatoes, sauce, celery, and garlic into a large sauce pot. (I toss in whole, peeled cloves because I don’t like it and it makes it easier to pick out!)
2. Fill pot with water until near the top. Heat to a boil.
4. At this point, I add half the box of pasta (save the rest for something else). Watch the water level so the pasta doesn’t suck all the water out of the soup. Add more if needed. If you want to cook the whole box, do it in a separate pot.
5. Final step – pour in a glurg or two (that’s a technical term) of Olive oil and then add salt and pepper to taste. I follow my Grandmother’s advice, adding oil too soon will make the beans tough. I don’t know if that’s true but boiling for hours doesn’t do the oil any favors.
Serve warm with crusty bread. Yummy.
Leftover can be re-heated, if you added pasta in step 4, then you will need to add more water and/or tomato sauce.