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Pasta e Fagioli: The Beans

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In the kitchen Vegetarian

When you have a dish that is fairly simple, more than ever, the quality of the individual ingredients need to be excellent. This is easy with Pasta e Fagioli. You know where to get the best beans! But of all the heirlooms we grow, which kind work best for this classic dish. 6a00d83451fd1569e200e55060b31b8834-800wi Of course every Italian cook will have his or her opinion. A lot of Italians like Borlotti. These are cranberry beans but there dozens of variations I know of, and there are probably more out there. The differences are subtle but the common thread is a velvety texture and a thin skin that creates an almost luxurious bean broth that will coat every noodle with flavor. Cranberrys are also popular in minestrone soups. You can add chicken stock for added richness but really, with a good bean, a classic soffritto and some pancetta, you lack nothing. I would say the type of bean used in Pasta e Fagioli is regional but within areas that are renowned for their Borlotti/Cranberry cuisine, you'll also find pure, delicate white beans that just suck up all the flavor and transfer it back to the eater. In Tuscany, you hear a lot about the famous Zolfino bean. It's hard to grow well and apparently there are impostors on the market, but it's worth hunting down. Our Cassoulet beans are from French Tarbais seed and while not exactly traditional, I would be hard pressed to find a better white bean for Pasta e Fagioli. Royal Coronas also work very well and in our master recipe, available as part of our free ebook, The Pasta e Fagioli Manifesto, both cranberry beans and Royal Coronas are used, creating a sensational broth and much more interesting textures than you would have with just one bean. 6a00d83451fd1569e200e54f1444688833-800wi Garbanzos are also used, often with greens. I love garbanzos but they're a little one note and so distinct that I can have them every other week and be happy. Everyday would be difficult for me. Absolutely unauthentic are our Ayocote beans from Mexico but I've loved the dishes I've made with them. I just wouldn't serve them to an Italian! We are featuring a sampler with 2 pounds of Baia spelt pasta and 2 pounds of Rancho Gordo heirloom beans. You can order them from our website. We also have a durum wheat version. Want more? Our ebooklet The Pasta e Fagioli Manifesto is availble. You can download it for free, here.


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