Monday, February 8, 2016

PASTA & BEANS - Pasta e Fagioli

This is the classic soup of pasta and beans from Southern Italy, especially popular in Napoli and the Amalfi coast. Don't be a fool . . . eat pasta fazool! It is truly amore.

¼ lb (125 g) pancetta, diced
2 T (30 ml) extra-light olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t (2 ml) red pepper flakes
½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
2 T (30 ml) tomato paste
2 quarts (2 litres) chicken stock
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 (3-inch/7.5-cm) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind 

2 (14 oz/398 ml) cans cannellini beans with liquid
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) ditalini or ditali pasta

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large pot or Dutch oven, fry the pancetta over medium heat until golden.
Add the oil to the pot and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté another minute.
Add wine and simmer 3 minutes.
Add tomato paste, chicken stock, sprig of thyme, bay leaf, and cheese rind.
Simmer 20 minutes. 

Add beans and simmer 10 more minutes.
Remove sprig of thyme, bay leaf, and cheese rind; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add pasta and simmer another 5 to 6 minutes.

Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some grated Parmigiano cheese. 

Serves 4 to 6 

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