Pasta e Fagioli: A Taste of Southern Italy
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Pasta e Fagioli is a quintessential Italian dish with various regional adaptations. The typical ingredients include long pasta, beans, garlic, broth, oil, celery, and depending on the version, sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, marjoram, pepper, and tomato. The dish’s origin is rather ambiguous as it is considered a staple in many Italian regions such as Calabria, Lazio, Campania, and Tuscany.
Pasta e Fagioli is a hearty, warming first course, a major classic in Italian cuisine with humble rural roots. It’s particularly prevalent in Southern Italy, especially in Naples, where it’s fondly called “Past e Fasul”. The distinct feature of this dish is that the pasta (mixed or tubetti type) is cooked together with the beans, which have been previously stewed with tomato, garlic, oil, and fresh parsley. As the pasta releases its starch, it binds with the slowly breaking down beans, resulting in the signature creamy, enveloping, and incredibly flavorful Pasta e Fagioli, or “azzeccata” as it’s known in Naples!
Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking: 20 minutes Total: 25 minutes
Serves 3 70 – 90 grams of mixed pasta or tubetti 250 grams of boiled borlotti or cannellini beans (canned or dried beans soaked and boiled) 180 grams of fresh elongated tomatoes (canned peeled tomatoes are also suitable) 2 cloves of garlic 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil Fresh parsley Salt Pepper (optional)
HOW TO MAKE PASTA E FAGIOLI
- Start by lightly frying the peeled and slightly crushed garlic in oil for 1 minute.
- Then, add the fresh tomatoes cut into quarters along with some chopped parsley.
- As the tomatoes soften, remove their skins, which should now be easily peelable. You may choose to leave them if you prefer; I remove them for a creamier Pasta e Fagioli.
- Add the boiled beans and a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley.
- Cook over medium heat, allowing the beans to absorb the flavors for about 1 minute.
- Meanwhile, crush the tomatoes with a fork. Then add a full glass of water.
- Cover with a lid, lower the heat, and let the beans stew in the pot for about 10 minutes. Add a pinch of salt.
- Add another glass of water and bring it to a boil.
- Now, add the pasta to the pot with the beans.
At this point, the real preparation begins.
HOW TO COOK THE PERFECT PASTA E FAGIOLI
- Cook the pasta over very low heat, stirring continuously and gradually adding a tablespoon of hot water.
- The first rule for a perfect outcome is not to add all the water at once, to prevent the pasta from cooking too fast and the sauce from becoming too brothy.
- We’re aiming for a creamy and enveloping Pasta e Fagioli!
- Only when you see that the pasta has absorbed all the water, add a little more.
- Gradually, by continuously stirring, the beans will break down, creating the famous “crema” or creaminess.
- The Pasta e Fagioli is ready when the pasta is cooked, and the sauce is thick, creamy, and perfectly harmonized with the chosen mixed pasta or tubetti.
- Add salt to taste and stir.
- Serve the Pasta e Fagioli nice and hot, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, a sprinkle of pepper, and a bit of fresh parsley. Pair it with slices of homemade or rye bread for a truly satisfying meal. This simple, unpretentious dish is a testament to the charm of Italian cuisine – it’s all about enhancing the natural flavors of quality ingredients. In just 25 minutes, you can create a comforting, hearty, and delicious meal that will transport you straight to the sun-soaked landscapes of Southern Italy. Buon appetito!
Topics: How to make Pasta e Fagioli, Pasta e Fagioli Recipe, Authentic Italian Pasta e Fagioli, Quick and Easy Pasta e Fagioli, Italian Comfort Food Recipes, Traditional Italian Cuisine, Hearty Vegetarian Recipes, Healthy Pasta Recipes, Homemade Pasta e Fagioli, Pasta and Bean Recipes
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