Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The recipe is based on something I saw on the internet and has hounded me for over a week now. I have made a similar version using Sophia Loren's recipe but this one is a little bit healthier and is in fact vegetarian. This went well with my co-workers who are at some level on a diet not for vanity's sake but for health reasons. This definitely gave me the push since I've been wanting to cook so badly but I'm usually too tired to cook when I go home every weekend. I have a bit more time here in my rental house but I have limited access to ingredients including the kitchen utensils and gadgetry that I am used to when cooking at home. However, a soup has to be the simplest form of food you can make in a pot so I went for it. 

Since I had to cook this soup/stoup in the city where I work, I had to be a bit more creative and inventive than usual. I had to ask somebody to buy the ingredients for me since it is a hassle having to travel an hour to the big city if I had to buy the ingredients I will need and come back to the city where I work especially since I had to teach that day. I just thought this was a lot of work for a soup but I was lucky that somebody at work was willing to do the shopping for me in exchange for a bowl of this soup. She was going to the big city on some business anyways so it was just a small detour for her to stop by the grocery store and buy a few things for me. I also have a few of the things I needed in my meager cupboard here and the rest were available in the local market. The fresh herbs were the most difficult to find but they were available in the big city so that was taken care of as well. 

Pasta e Fagioli

1 onion diced
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 lb dried white beans* + 1 cup cooking liquid
2 cup small dried pasta
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
2 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
14 - oz diced tomatoes, canned
2/3 cup tomato paste
3 tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling
6 cups broth
salt and pepper

1. Soak the beans in water and set aside for 6-8 hours. Drain and transfer to 
    a large pot and cook in enough water over medium low heat until soft for 
    about 2 hours. Allow to cool and set aside. Drain and reserve about a cup 
    of cooking liquid.

2. In a deep pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic and 
    onions. Season with salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the celery and 
    carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly browned and 

3. Add the red pepper, thyme, bay leaves and oregano and saute for 
    another minute. 

4. Add the broth and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and 
    cook until al dente. Lower the heat to medium low and add the beans 
    plus the cooking liquid and simmer for another 5 minutes. 

5. Add the tomato paste and stir well. Check for flavor and cook for another 
    5 minutes. Add more water if too thick. Add the chopped basil leaves just 
    prior to serving and mix until combined.

6. Serve with a drizzling of olive oil and top with grated Parmesan cheese 
    and more basil leaves if desired. 

*If using canned beans (two 15-oz cans), drain the beans and wash with tap water. Reserve about 2 tbsp of the drained beans and mash with a fork. Mix in 1/2 cup of water and use instead of the cooking liquid.

No comments:

Post a Comment