june b newsletter
June 23, 2015
I recently met up with an old pal, Renato Sardo from Baia Pasta. He and his partner Dario Barbone are obsessed with quality and just like I got into Rancho Gordo as a home cook, disappointed with the state of heirloom beans, these Italians were not pleased with the state of US pasta production. It's especially odd considering the excellent varieties and quality of our wheat.
Renato brought me some pasta to play with at home and my first bowl was just the cooked pasta tossed with butter and olive oil and topped with some grated cheese. It's Meyer lemon season here so a squeezed a little of that over the whole show and it just hit home that ingredients need to be the star, especially when you're cooking simple dishes.
Another recent obsession has been Pasta e Fagioli. There are as many recipes and variations as there Italian cooks but I knew their version would be something special. And it was. And it's here for you!
Dario notes that they cook their beans in salted water with aromatics like onion, garlic, carrot and celery. They also add old cheese rinds to the pot. I love the idea of using something you'd normally toss and it adds great flavor. Dario also says, "Hey we live for flavor and we love this dish but you might love it even more because of its nutritional profile. Pasta e fagioli is a complete dish with the perfect balance of good carbs, proteins and fats. Grab a spoon and dig in..."
I of course am less concerned about nutrition than the idea of velvety cranberry (borlotti) beans, creamy Royal Coronas and all of their extravegent bean broths mixing and coating each precious noodle. My heart races and my knees buckle.
1 lb Baia Pasta Organic Durum Wheat Sardinians
1. As you prepare the beans, make sure you have lots of liquid on hand when they are done as this will be the basis for your sauce.
2. While the beans are cooking, prepare the sofftritto. 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 paper toweling. 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.
3. 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.
4. Cook the pasta in a large stockpot in salted water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.
5. Add the drained pasta and beans to the soffritto mixture, mix well and gently cook for a few minutes to marry the various flavors.
6. Serve immediately with a splash of peppery extra virgin olive oil and pass around a bowl of grated percorino or Parmagino cheese for the guests to help themselves.
Meet the Author: Lesley Tallez at Rancho Gordo
No need to R.s.v.p.
Help Paula Wolfert Write the Book She Was Meant to Write
Wooden Gift Boxes Are Back
Obviously they make great gift but if you need to treat youself to a little something, this might be a nice way to do it.
Remember, we have a complete list of all the beans we grow, with descriptions, on our Website. There are also lots of recipes and cooking ideas as well.
And with that, I thank you for your very kind attention!
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