Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pasta e Fagioli & Caesar Salad

No pictures this time.  Just a warning.

I'm a big fan of pasta e fagioli - nothing much better than beans, tomatoes, veggies, broth and pasta simmering together to make a filling meal on a cold night.  Literally meaning "pasta and beans", this is yet another dish that originated as a peasant dish (much like cassoulet, corned beef, beef stew, etc) that has transcended its humble roots and become something that is served in restaurants and homes all over the world.  I've usually made this from a mix of dried beans and seasonings - one of the few times I tend to make soup from a mix (admittedly, because the mix is *really* good),  However, like always, I had a Test Kitchen recipe that I wanted to give a whirl and (surprise, surprise) it came out amazing.  Combined with a Caesar salad, it was a great meal.  I liked it so much, I'm posting the recipe.

Pasta e Fagioli (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
2 slices bacon, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 celery rib, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
1 can diced tomatoes w/ juice
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed (the recipe originally calls for 3/4 c, but I wanted more)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 oz ditalini

Cook bacon in large saucepan over medium-low until fat is rendered and just starting to crisp, 5 minutes.  Add onions, celery, pinch of salt and cook until soft, 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, oregano and red pepper, cook 30 seconds.
Stir in tomatoes and juice, scrape up fond.  Add beans, heat to simmer, reduce to low and cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.  Add broth, water and 1/4 tsp salt, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

See?  20 minutes for some of the most delicious pasta fagioli you'll ever eat.  Trust me on this one, folks.


Rob Timko said...

I'm going to make this tomorrow. Period. My wife loves Pasta Fagioli and were running the NYC marathon this weekend and TRYING to not eat cheeseburgers all week...

Alex said...

Steph is a big fan of the pasta fagioli as well. She loved the smokiness from the bacon as a counterpoint to the tomatoes and beans. I rather enjoyed it.

Running a marathon? You guys are absolutely crazy. Then again, I'm planning on doing triathlons next spring/summer, so I must be crazy, too.

Rob Timko said...

How do you think we manage to cook/eat so much!

Tri's huh? Shhhh don't say that word, that means I'll have to get a bike...must....resist...

We're debating on tri's or ultramarathon for training next year. I just want to do a fast half trail marathon though.

Alex said...

OK, marathons themselves just seem ridiculous. Ultramarathon? I don't even know what that means, and I can already feel my knees hurting.

Here's my thing with the tri - I swam competitively up through college, so I'm good with that. I can bike reasonably well, and hold my own. I just worry about the running after doing the swimming and biking.

Running = not my thing.

Rob Timko said...

Took some pics for ya! Came out great. Next time I think I'll use the hunts fire roasted tomatoes. Wife cooked it and gave me a much needed recliner day.