Pasta e Fagioli
|Pasta e Fagioli|
There are as many ways of preparing Pasta e Fagioli (or Basta Fazool if you come from southern Italy) as there are Italians. In Brooklyn during the 1940s, all the Italians would have it every Friday night because it is meatless. Usually it is a soup dominated by tomatoes. This recipe, in contrast, is the consistency of a stew, and is dominated by the umami flavor.
- 1 pound dried white beans
- 1 cup of olive oil
- a whole clove of garlic, unshelled
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon or more crushed or ground hot red pepper
- fresh parsley
- ½ pound of small diameter macaroni, whole wheat is best
- salt to taste.
- Put washed beans in salted water, 3 parts to 1 part beans.
- Soak overnight OR bring to boil, boil 2 minutes and let stand, covered, for 1 hour.
- Do not drain beans, but bring to a boil.
- Skim off foam and add oil, garlic and bay leaf.
- Simmer for about 2 hours, or until tender.
- Cook pasta for 6 or 7 minutes, but don't let it get too soft.
- Drain pasta and save some of the water.
- Stir pasta and red pepper into beans and simmer until pasta is eatably soft, adding some of the saved water if necessary.
- Garnish with red pepper to taste and parsley.
Notes, tips and variations
- Beans: Use whichever sort is the favorite in your neighborhood and likely to be freshest. In Southern California that would be pinto beans, in the deep South, black-eyed peas or perhaps butter beans. Garbanzos might be good. Navy beans are always safe.
- Olive oil: Use the best grade you can get: Cold pressed, Extra Virgin.
- With a salad and some red wine this is a hearty meal, and can be eaten the next day, cold or reheated.