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Pasta e Fagioli: The Vegetarian Variation

The essence of Pasta e Fagioli is pasta and beans. If you want to make a vegetarian version, it's pretty easy. The pasta provides the texture, the beans and aromatics provide the broth and the dry cheese and olive oil provide the indulgence and sense of luxury. I do think it's better with pancetta but it's not absolute. You could probably strip it down to vegan with little trouble. Do you have any good vegetarian or vegan versions? Share them! Here's my version of vegetarian Pasta e Fagioli. ranchogordo-7361-2 1 lb Baia Pasta Organic Durum Wheat Sardinians (Or try Spelt pasta from Baia) 1 ½ cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Cranberry beans 1 ½ cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans 4 cups bean broth from the cooked beans (If you have less than four cups, make up the difference with water or vegetable broth) 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped fine 1 celery rib, chopped fine 1 carrot, minced 1 garlic clove, minced 1 rosemary sprig ½ tsp red pepper flakes 1 tbs tomato paste 1 tablespoon mushroom powder extra virgin olive oil salt & pepper to taste (optional) Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving As you prepare the beans, make sure you have plenty of liquid on hand when they are done as this will be the basis for your sauce. While the beans are cooking, prepare the soffritto. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Fry the aromatic vegetables. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and onion until the vegetables are soft and the onion is turning golden colored. Add the tomato paste, mushroom powder and pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until the paste is heated through and the tomato and mushroom flavors are intensified. Add the bean broth and rosemary sprig and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or so. The liquid should start to reduce. Cook the pasta in a large stockpot in salted water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain. Add the drained pasta and beans to the soffritto mixture, mix well and gently cook for a few minutes to marry the various flavors. Serve immediately with a splash of peppery extra virgin olive oil. Pass around a bowl of grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese for the guests to help themselves. 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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