Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fagioli con Prosciutto (Beans with Ham)

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This soup recipe is another favorite from Sophia Loren's cookbook and is something I modified just a tad due to what was available in my pantry and fridge. The original recipe calls for a pound of "cotiche" or pork rind and ham bones to flavor the soup but all I had was ham so I substituted the rind for ham and did away with the ham bone. If you do have any ham bones lying around in your freezer, I say use it.This recipe is a poor man's dish but is a favorite of the great Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, a good friend and colleague of Sophia. The recipe is definitely simple and so is the taste but the satisfaction you get from this soup is definitely something that will make you feel good this cold winter's day. 

If you are using cotiche, you may have to clean it by burning the bristles over an open flame. Once cleaned, you will need to cook it in boiling water for two minutes. Once drained, you rinse the cotiche in cold water and wipe it dry before dicing into smaller pieces. 

Fagioli con Prosciutto - Adapted*

1 lb cotiche or ham, diced
salt and pepper
2 lb canned cannellini or Great Northern beans
cooked ham bone (optional)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp lard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, minced
2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
2 tbsp parsley, minced
2 lbs canned whole peeled tomatoes, diced

1. In a large pot, heat the lard over medium heat. Add the ham until slightly 
    browned. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened. Season with 
    salt and pepper. Add the rosemary and cook for another minute. 

2. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and season 
    with salt. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. 

3. Add the beans and simmer until heated through. Check for flavor and add 
    the basil and parsley prior to serving.

*Loren, S., Sophia Loren's Recipes and Memories, GT Publishing, New York: 1998.

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