Monday, March 23, 2015

Pasta e Fagioli

This soup didn't turn out perfect, but it was still very good.  My beans had a hard time cooking all the way through; I should have started just an hour earlier and all would have been fine.  The soup had great flavor.  I have many Parmigianno, Grana, and aged Asiago cheese rinds in my freezer.  This is the first time I've used one in a recipe.  I simmered a Parmigianno-Regianno rind in here the whole time.  It gave the soup great flavor, and I got to eat some of the melty cheese off the rind. I understand that one can throw a cheese rind into any simmering soup or dish that you'd garnish with a hard cheese.

This recipe uses Cranberry (Borlotti) beans.  These beans are not my fave- they were used commonly in the Azores, as well, and I used them there.  They don't cook very fast and remain mealy.  I'd use pinto beans next time; they're so much creamier and also have a faster cooking time.
Pasta e Fagioli
adapted from Cooking with Lucas

½ Box Ditalini or other short pasta (250 grams or 1/2 lb.)
1 pound dry borlotti (cranberry) OR pinto beans (I soaked overnight)
½ onion
2 potatoes
1 1/2 cups smoked, diced pancetta
3 quarts meat broth
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus a cheese rind, optional
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 slices bread
1 clove garlic

1. Peel potatoes.  Finely chop onion and rosemary.  Heat 1/3 of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Lightly brown onion and finely dice pancetta.  Add beans, broth, diced potatoes and rosemary.  Add the cheese rind if you have it.  Cook (at a low simmer) for 1-2 hours or until beans are tender.  Stir occasionally so beans don't stick to the pan.

2.  Remove pot from heat.  Remove and puree about 1/3 of the beans and potatoes.  Or, use an immersion blender to blend a portion of the soup right in the pot.  Bring everything to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions.  (If your soup is very thick, you may want to boil the pasta separately and then add; this is what I did.)

3. Remove pot from heat.  Finish with chopped parsley and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and the rest of the olive oil.  Serve in individual soup bowls with slices of toasted bread rubbed with a clove of garlic.
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1 comment:

Lorcutt said...

That looks so good!