Classic Pasta e Fagioli
We are calling this a classic version of Pasta e Fagioli but there’s a good chance your Italian grandmother wouldn’t agree. She would add a little more of this and a little less of that. But this version, from Baia Pasta’s Dario Barbone, re-ignited my love for this dish. With good beans, good pasta and good vegetables, the rich, clear broth makes it unique. I don’t want to oversell this but it’s just plain delicious and I haven’t stopped making it.
- 1 lb Baia Pasta Organic Durum Wheat Sardinians (Or try Whole Durum Wheat or 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 chicken broth)
- 4 oz pancetta, cubed or roughly chopped
- 1 tbs of lard (or 2 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
- 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. Melt the lard (or olive oil) in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Slowly fry the pancetta until fragrant and chewy. Once cooked, remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel. If needed, add more olive oil so there is enough fat to 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 and pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until the paste is heated through and the tomato flavor is 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, beans, and reserved pancetta 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.