Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

There are dozens of recipes for Pasta e Fagioli floating around, most of which include onion/carrot/celery soffritto, various herbs, and even meat. This recipe however places the beans at center stage, augmented by only the mildest of seasoning.


1 cup dried white beans
2 tbsp olive oil
2 or 3 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp tomato puree
½ cup small pasta like ditalini
Salt and pepper


Soak the beans in cold water to cover for 10-12 hours. If you start them on your way out the door in the morning, they'll be ready when you get home from work.  

Drain the beans, put them into a saucepan (a three quart pan is just right) and add enough water to completely submerge the beans. This water also cooks the pasta so use plenty. You can always remove some later. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim off any scum that comes to the surface. The beans are done when they have completely softened and begin to break apart - start checking them after about 30-40 minutes.

When the beans are done adjust the amount of bean water - you want enough to cook the pasta and make a not-too-thick soup. Then scoop out about half the beans and mash them into a puree in whatever way is convenient - food mill, blender, food processor, etc. An immersion blender works well, but be careful - you want lots of whole beans left. Add the pureed beans back into the pan

Heat the oil in a small pan and fry the garlic and sage until the garlic begins to color. Transfer the garlic, sage, and oil mixture to the beans. Add the tomato puree.

Bring the bean mixture back to a gentle boil and add the pasta. When the pasta is done to your taste, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and enjoy.

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