March 24, 2020

Pasta e Fagioli - Bolognese Style

TASTE OF ITALY 2020
A hearty and delicious soup, every Italian region has their own version; in Bologna it is made up of creamed borlotti beans, ham, garlic and rosemary. You can leave out the ham, I sometimes do - and instead add small squares of Parmigiano Reggiano rind- and no one at home notices! 
In Bologna we add egg pasta to our soup, generally the maltagliati (literally means poorly cut) which often are the leftover bits or rimasugli of your pasta making. If you don’t have any, then some quadrucci, little squares, are perfect. 
Although I prefer to use dried beans for this soup, I always have canned beans in my pantry so I can quickly prepare this soup, if need be. 

It is so easy you don’t really need a recipe but if you’ve never made it before, here is what I do:
INGREDIENTS
1-1 and 1/2 cups dried beans or 2-3 cans borlotti (pink beans)
EVOO
A large clove fresh garlic
a sprig of fresh rosemary
100g or 3oz fresh pancetta, cubed
water
salt &
pepper
100-200g of egg pasta maltagliati
bits of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind, optional

Special equipment: sumergible mixer

METHOD
  1. Soak beans overnight if using dried or drain liquid from canned beans
  2. Cook dried beans following package directions 
  3. peel and smash garlic and place in large enough pot with a generous swirl of EVOO
  4. remove leaves off rosemary sprig and add to pot with garlic and oil
  5. add cubed pancetta to pot
  6. saute’ items in pot over medium heat until they begin to get colored, stirring once in a while - it smell really good, doesn’t it? :)
  7. Add cooked beans and enough water to cover beans, continuing to cook for about 20 minutes
  8. Remove several tablespoons of the beans and set aside for now.
  9. Taste and adjust to taste with salt & pepper and water if necessary.
  10. Remove from heat and using a sumergible mixer, whir everything in the pot to obtain a cream. 
  11. Then put the pot back over the heat, add the beans you set aside and if using, bits of Parmigiano Reggiano rind, now is the time to add it.
  12. Add egg pasta, stir in and keep over heat until pasta is done, largely depends on pasta used but a dried egg dough can take 5 minutes while fresh egg dough will take 2-3 minutes.
  13. Pour into bowls and if you like, add a nice swirl of extra tasty extra virgin olive oil to your soup.

It is easy to make the soup #vegetarian or #vegan. This soup uses #pantry items as well as foods other people would throw out: ugly little pasta bits (they should be similar in size and thickness for similar cooking time) and Parmigiano Reggiano rind (which has no wax).


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2 comments:

JKENN said...

I choose this recipe as it looked most like the one my dad used to make. Unfortunately I never got the recipe from him as I never liked it much but I am trying to make it for my sister(who does not cook) and it is her all time favourite dish on planet earth! I am trying to rememeber if a tin of tomatoes went in too? Sure my dad did not use pancetta, but I am going to

Maribelous said...

Hi JKENN,
the pasta e fagioli from around here does not have a tin of tomatoes in it. If you like, you could add a teaspoon of tomato paste to it, no more because it would otherwise change the flavor substantially.

Having said that, this dish varies by region and often times between cities! That is to say that Italian will add the variety of beans that grow (best) locally as well as the format of the pasta.

The pancetta can be optional, I like to leave it out when I make it at home, in an effort to reduce meat consumption - just make sure to increase slightly the rosemary and garlic.

Let me know how this turns out for you. All the best