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Pasta Fagioli

Believe it or not, I had Pasta Fagioli for the first time ever last night... and I'm already hooked! What a healthy, hearty, and delicious soup for the fall and winter. I quickly Googled the recipe, and they all seem to be pretty much the same. However, does anyone have a standout Pasta Fagioli recipe or tips/tricks that's a must make?

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  1. I've been making Giada's for a while now, love love love it!!!

    Although, I use the fresh herbs and leave them in it rather then a sachet (taking it out as she does).

    I will also add some nice sausage if I'm looking to meat it up!!!

    1. Actually, I've had it meatless....or with Italian sausage....or with ground beef...so there are definitely variations out there! What was in the one you loved? Epicurious currently has a meatless one on their "most popular" list, for what it's worth!

      1. SaraASR, whichever recipe you follow, I suggest adding a pamesan rind to it, removing it at the end or cooking. I freeze old parm rinds for this type of use and just pop it in the soup. Adjust the salt accordingly though, you wont need as much.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cassoulady

          Oh yeah. And it just has to be served with vinegar peppers on the side- that's a must.

          1. re: cassoulady

            Re: the parmesan rind. I can never find it at the end of cooking and someone usually finds it when eating the sauce or soup and eats it anyway, so I have started chopping up my rinds into smaller bits and not bothering to look for them.

          2. I follow the recipe of my grandmother, the simple version and the one with the mussels are also common in Italy.
            Mine is an old recipe of Naples, I try to translate it:

            The picture and original original text here:
            http://croce-delizia.blogspot.com/200... (translator on the top right


            Pasta e fagioli con le cozze

            300 g short pasta
            300 g dried cannellini beans
            1 kg of mussels,
            1 rib of celery
            2 cloves garlic
            4 or 5 tomatoes
            extra virgin olive oil
            salt and pepper

            The first step is to soak dried beans.
            Soak for at least 12 hours. Then rinse and pour into a saucepan with cold water, a clove of garlic, a stalk of celery and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook long and slowly, simmer, absolutely no cover and no salt, for about 2 hours. Drain the beans and keep a little 'cooking water filtered.

            Making fried in an earthenware pot with a little oil (3-4 tablespoons) a clove of crushed garlic, half a stick of celery and a sliced red pepper (if you like, otherwise it is completed with a generous grinding of pepper directly into plate).

            ( My grandmother at this point add the pork rind in recent times often replaced by the crust of the grain, "why do not you throw anything away, that cooking in the soup tends to melt some more seasoning and the dish it remains a chewy crust that is a real pleasure to eat. )

            Instead we continue to make the pasta and beans with mussels ...

            Add a bit 'of water, three or four fingers, and bake for fifteen minutes then add the crushed tomatoes, the cooked beans and a little' cooking water of those previously put aside. Cook for 30 minutes or more, so that amalgamate the flavors and the beans to complete their cooking.
            Removed some of the beans from the pan and pass it through a sieve and then bringing the past to the soup on the fire.
            Clean mussels, wash them, put them in a large pan on the fire to efatele open flame, peel and reserve the cooking liquid that you are going to add all or part of the bean soup.

            Salt: I always prefer to add it to the end because the right dose will depend on the amount of liquid released from the mussels that you are going to add to the soup.

            Cook the pasta in plenty of water, not too salty. Drain and add half-cooked beans to finish cooking and a few seconds before turning off the flame add also shelled mussels.
            Depending on your personal taste, you can still add the cooking water or the filtrate of mussels (always being careful to salt), so superior computing soup more or less dense.

            Pasta and beans is very good hot, but you should definitely try it the next day, cold, and then let me know.

            1. Here's my tried and true.... probably changed over the years from my family's recipe but very tasty and satisfying. A mixed veggie tossed salad would be served after the soup.

              2 tablespoons EVOO
              1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
              1 medium onion chopped
              2 quarts chicken stock
              3 cups cooked kidney or cannellini beans
              2 cups pasta: small shells, or any of the other small macaroni
              Salt, pepper and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes

              In a heavy pot heat olive oil over high heat until it is almost smoking. Add the parsley and the onions and cook over high heat, until they are browned about 8 to10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the cooked beans and bring to a boil. Add seasonings to your taste. Add the pasta and cook till done. Remove from heat and allow to rest 10 minutes. Grate Pecorino Romano generously over each serving.

              Note: The amounts may vary according to how much you want to make.
              Sometimes I start with 1/4 cup diced pancetta.
              If I have any leftover macaroni sauce I add that in.
              You can serve with a fresh baked loaf of Italian bread if you desire.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                Gio, do you typically used dried beans that you have soaked and cooked or canned?

                1. re: cassoulady

                  I used to use dried beans but now I mostly use canned, Goya usually. It's just easier for me these days. I have a recipe I like for dried pinto beans and if I've made a large amount of those beans, I use some of them in the pasta e fagioli.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Does it matter if you use canned vs. dried beans? I've only ever used canned. Also, is using kidney beans or cannellini beans more "traditional" than another? I believe what I had last night had both kinds of beans. Personal preference?

                    1. re: SaraASR

                      I love the kidney myself, I also love what blending about a cup of the soup with beans (then adding back in) before adding the pasta does. Makes it a bit creamy.

                      1. re: SaraASR

                        Sara, I really do not think it matters which beans one uses. In fact I remember my mother using chick peas with this soup sometimes. The thing about Italian cooking is that one uses whatever one has on hand to bring the dish to the satisfaction of the family, and the nearest approximation of what the dish should taste like. Every family has their own rendition of whatever dish and even within the family there are variations of the same dish. And that goes for here in the the USA and in Italy.

                  2. re: Gio

                    This is almost exactly the same as Mario Batali's recipe. Cooking the parsley for a full 10 minutes was a test of faith the first time I made it. But what an amazing amount of flavor. I save the bits and pieces of pasta when I make it as home in the freezer to throw into the soup.

                    However, I only put pasta into the soup I will serve that night. The first time, I stored the pasta in the soup and was shocked to find a soggy mess of pasta and no soup in the tupperware the next day.

                    1. After plating your pasta e fagioli, just before serving, do ONE of the following but not both. Add a small pat of lightly salted butter, OR drizzle the plate with a good EVOO to finish the dish. Your pasta e fagioli will suddenly become memorable then because these two lastly added ingredients will put it over the top. ; - )

                      1 Reply
                      1. I don't make my pasta fagioli as a soup. I make it as a pasta dish without tomatoes. Garlic, beans olive oil, sea salt and parsley. Cook the pasta, add to this mixture and use the pasta water to thin out the beans. Toss with pecorino romano. You could add tomatoes to this. I believe that this is a particular method that is made around Salerno, which was where my mother's family came from. Th only place I've ever had it where it was so close to my mother's version was at Rao's in East Harlem.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: roxlet

                          For last night's supper I combined cooked lentils(some carrots,onions ,garlic etc) with escarole, after cooking broken spaghetti in the escarole broth I added the legumes and cooked escarole finishing with evo , grated cheese and course black pepper.,Fava beans and escarole or spinach .also work .

                          1. re: scunge

                            Sounds delish, but it's not pasta fazool! My mother would also make pasta and lentils on a regular basis. Or pasta and chickpeas. When she made the chickpeas with pasta, she usually made a very thin tomato sauce out of tomato juice. This dish had lots of ground black pepper in it.

                            1. re: roxlet

                              Try those little cans of V8 with your pasta and legume combos.
                              Decent, very decent results. Be sure not to overpour though. A hint is plenty.

                          2. re: roxlet

                            Thanks, roxlet, I was wondering where this style of pasta e fagioli comes from! For many years our latenight pantry dinner standby has been a similar recipe from Julia della Croce's "Vegetarian table: Italy" book. It's ditalini with cannellini beans or chickpeas, tossed with rosemary and onions softened in a generous amount of olive oil and black pepper. The onions aren't browned - this dish is not good with a sweet onion flavour - rather just bog standard yellow or red onions softened until a few of them just begin to brown around the edges. No cheese.

                            We vary the proportions: sometimes a pound of pasta to one can of beans, other times two cans of beans to a half pound of pasta. A deeply comforting meal either way.

                            We'll have to try your way with garlic and parsley and pecorino romano very soon - sounds wonderful.

                            1. re: plum

                              I forgot the red pepper flakes! Always add those -- with a heavy or a light hand, your choice!

                              1. re: roxlet

                                My wife makes a version with kidney beans, spinach, carrot and potato which is quite nice - from the Canadian Living Cookbook 'Best Vegetarian Dishes', for those Canucks who can get it. Ah, just found the recipe online here: http://www.canadianliving.com/food/pa... - we've never made it with Black forest Ham though; even if this is something you have at hand, it doesn't feel terribly Italian!

                          3. Recently I made a pasta fagioli with lima beans. I also used cannelini beans and pureed most of them for creaminess. So hearty! Pic below.

                            1. There are without two basic versions: a Northern one without tomatoes and Southern one with. For the Northern, use cranberry beans instead of kidney beans and either sage or rosemary as the herb. For the Southern style, use cannellini beans and oregano or marjoram as the herb. Ditalini, please, as the pasta.

                              Bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto in small amounts in both.