Pasta e Fagiole

A traditional Italian dish made of pasta and beans that was born out of peasant cooking.

I am presently in Michigan at my daughter’s house, and despite it being April, we have had freezing temperatures and enough snow to cover the ground every day over the past two weeks. Cooler weather requires hearty, comforting dishes, and there isn’t another dish that fits into this category better than Pasta e Fagiole so I decided to make this traditional dish for my family this week. This dish is a peasant recipe that is a great, stick to your ribs dish. Pasta e fagioli or pasta fagioli, and simply means “pasta and beans”, referring to the two main ingredients in the dish.

This traditional Italian favorite started as a peasant dish due to being composed of very inexpensive ingredients and most often is one dish that would be prepared at home for family, and not guests. Today Pasta e Fagioli can be widely found even in restaurants, although it may be pronounced pasta fazool in the United States.

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Large Carrot, Finely Chopped
2 Celery Stalks, Finely Chopped
1 Small Onion, Finely Chopped
1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Pancetta or Bacon (Optional)
10 Peeled, Seeded and Chopped Ripe Roma Tomatoes (or About 1 (28 Ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes)
1 Quart Chicken Broth
2 Cups Water
2 (14 Ounce) Tins Cannellini Beans (or Equivalent, Prepared From Dried)
2 Cups Small Pasta (Tubettini or Ditalini)
1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
Salt & Pepper

Dash Of Red Pepper Flakes

Good Quality Olive Oil
Shaved Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese
Fresh Chopped Parsley

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot, then cook the onion, carrot, pancetta, and celery until soft.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Pour in the broth, beans and chopped tomatoes, water, and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove a few scoops of the bean mixture and puree or mash, then return to the pot. (Optional)
Add the pasta, chopped parsley and seasonings.
Cook until the pasta is cooked al dente.
Serve in bowls topped with a drizzle of olive oil, the shaved cheese and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.