The Winter Warmer - hearty pasta fagioli recipe (bean pasta)...
STEPS 6 INGREDIENTS 7 TIME 30 MINS
With this peasant dish, you simply throw everything in the pan and cook the pasta in the same water as the beans; just like a crockpot-style stew or casserole.
Not only that, but because it is so basic this pasta fagioli recipe is actually very flexible too.
For me, this vegetarian version is the real deal, but if you have flesh-demanding meat eaters coming for dinner then you can easily meat it up by adding a handful of pancetta (belly bacon) chunks - just throw these in when frying the onions.
Tip: If you enjoy dishes like this to be creamy (and I recommend you try fagioli this way), just cook the whole thing for a couple of minutes longer than this recipe suggests. If you're aiming for a more liquidy soup, then just follow it to the letter (the result being what some might call 'white bean and pasta soup').
It doesn't get much easier, or tastier really!
I hope you're hungry though...
Ingredients: (For a printable PDF shopping list click here, or right-click this link and choose 'Save target/link as' to save the list for later.)
320g/11.2oz pasta (just 80g for each person rather than the usual 100g)
Go for a small type of pasta such as cubetti, macaroni or pasta shells (conchiglie). Alternatively, do what my wife does – which is perfect for this dish – and use broken spaghetti or linguine instead (5cm sticks are fine)
2 x 410g/14.5oz tins of white cannellini beans (in water)
2 whole cloves of garlic – peeled and with the ends chopped off
4 plum tomatoes (from a can - one for each person)
Salt & pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
2 small sticks of celery
Handful of pancetta (belly bacon) cubes
Grated parmesan cheese
Thick-walled deep skillet/pan (for cooking everything crockpot style)
Step 1 - Put a big splash of olive oil into the pan, along with the whole garlic cloves (and the optional pancetta). Put the pan on the hob, on a low to medium heat, but hold off on the salt as the pancetta is already salty.
Step 2 - Occasionally mix, and when the garlic starts to turn a little brown, move the pan off the heat and drop in the tomatoes (and optional celery). When the oil calms down and stops spitting, move it all back onto the heat.
Step 3 - After a minute or two the tomatoes will soften (the optional pancetta should be browning by now too), so squash these toms into bits with a spoon and give it all a good stir.
Step 4 - Throw in the cannellini beans with their water, and for every tin of beans (one tin is for two people) throw in another 2 tins of water.
Now add a good pinch of salt and turn up the heat to medium/high to make the water simmer (small bubbles).
Step 5 - Let the beans cook for a good couple of minutes, then get the water boiling and add the pasta.
Step 6 - Cook for roughly 10-15 minutes (see your pasta packet), stirring more and more regularly.
With this particular pasta fagioli recipe, you're really looking for the final consistency to be nice and creamy, but if this creaminess appears before the pasta is cooked (taste some to check), just throw in another half can of boiling water and cook it for a little longer.
Serve with: You won’t need much more food than this, no matter how hungry you are! But that said, a chunk of crusty bread doesn’t hurt. You can also add some grated parmesan on top, and many Italians also drizzle a little oil on there too.
For the wine, choose a nice strong, full bodied red such as chianti, Spanish rioja or zinfandel.
More on cannellini beans: see this quick guide.
Enjoyed this pasta fagioli recipe?
Then why not try...
• This fibre-filled pasta n' chickpea (garbanzo bean) soup
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