Have you tried this Italian staple?
Whether pasta e fagioli — literally, pasta and beans — is an Italian soup with pasta in it or a pasta sauced with beans is a matter of proportion and preference. I like it as a soup thick with beans and pasta.
* Pasta e Fagioli alla Fiorentina
* Pasta e Fagioli alla Veneta
* Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli)
The notion of two starches combining to become an Italian staple at first seems difficult to fathom. But try pasta e fagioli. This dish of modest ingredients is capable of providing great pleasure and satisfaction.
Creamy beans give way to pasta’s toothsome give. Seasonings of aromatic rosemary, tangy tomato, garlic, and sometimes pancetta or prosciutto infuse the mellow beans. As they cook, the beans exude a silky broth that absorbs garnishes of green olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
When I want to make soup into a one-dish dinner, I turn to pasta e fagioli. Its ingredients are easy to find or make substitutions for. Its bean-and-grain combo provides a vegetarian protein. Making it can be as easy as simmering cannellini beans with garlic, tomato, and rosemary, and then cooking a short, hollow pasta such as tubetti or macaroni in the beans.
When I want vegetables, too, I serve bowlfuls with a small pile of garlicky sautéed greens on top. Kale, dandelions, or broccoli rabe are good choices. I have also added cubes of the last of the winter squash to the simmering beans, with rich results.
The only deal-breaker to making a decent pasta e fagioli is that you have to begin with dried beans. There is no way around this…
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