Pasta Fagioli

Although pasta fagioli can be served as a first course, this rendition is a very hearty one and can be shown off best by serving it as an entree with a simple green salad and some bread.

Pasta Fagioli
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon, chopped or 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
  • quarter size chunk of ginger, finely chopped
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can "chunk style" tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 (16 - 20 ounce) cans cannellini or fava beans, drained and rinsed or about 4 cups cooked white beans
  • 2 cups medium sized shaped pasta, such as penne, rigatoni or conchiglie
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet or stockpot over a medium flame until rendered of all fat. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat. Remove bacon from pan and reserve it for later use. Or, if you are not using bacon, heat a large skillet over medium low heat and add oil.
  2. Place onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and ginger in the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add crushed red pepper, tomatoes, and stock. If you are using dried rosemary, add it now. Raise heat to medium high and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for one hour.
  4. Add beans and reserved bacon and cook until heated through, about 5 - 10 minutes. (It can be frozen at this point)
  5. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente and, just prior to serving, add to bean mixture. If you are using fresh rosemary, add it just prior to serving. Serve from the pot or place in a large ceramic bowl.

Note: Al dente literally means “to the tooth”, meaning the pasta should feel just right on your tooth, but it has come to mean, not too soft.

To prepare fava beans, split the shells open and remove the beans. Discard the shells and boil the beans for 10 minutes.