“When the stars make you drool just like pasta fazul, that’s amore!” As I write this recipe, I can hear the famous crooner, Dean Martin, sing this famous line from his 1953 signature song “That’s Amore” It reminds me, every time, of my all-time favorite film “Moonstruck” and memories of my mama and I sitting in the theater viewing remnants of our existence on the big screen—another display of “art intimidating life.”
Pasta e Fagioli, meaning “pasta and beans” is a traditional northern Italian “stick to your ribs” stew-like bean and pasta soup. Like many other Italian favorites, it started as a peasant dish, being composed of inexpensive ingredients such as bacon, beans and garden vegetables. Serve with a fresh, crisp salad and crusty Italian of French bread
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped course
½ package of baby carrots, chopped course
2 celery stalks, chopped course
1 large onion, chopped course
1 tablespoon of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
1 cup chopped flat Italian parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped Pancetta or bacon (optional)
1 pound of cooked ham, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 (14 ounce) can chopped Italian tomatoes, San Marzano, preferred for their smooth, yet sweeter, earthy taste.
1 quart chicken broth
3 (14 Ounce) cans of cannellini beans or I used Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Beans Prepared from dried beans *See below for quick soak method if using dry beans.
3 bay leaves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme and or 2 teaspoons of dried Italian seasoning
1 1/4 cup small pasta (Tubettini, Ditalini or Orecchiette) cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Additional salt & pepper, to taste
Dash of red pepper flakes
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Shaved parmesan cheese
Fresh chopped parsley
Heat oil in a large heavy pot; cook onion, carrots, pancetta, and celery until soft. Add garlic and cook another minute. Pour in broth, beans, ham and chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, dried seasoning and or fresh thyme. Cook for 15-20 minutes. If you want a thicker soup, remove a few scoops of the bean mixture and puree or mash, and then return to pot. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Add cooked pasta and chopped parsley, carefully stir right before ladling into bowls.
Serve in large soup bowls. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, shaved cheese, a dash of red pepper flakes and a sprinkling of chopped parsley. Serves 6
*Place dried rinsed beans in a pot and cover with water by three inches. Bring to a boil and simmer briskly for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. Drain. Your beans will be ready to use in your favorite recipes. If using dried beans, plan to simmer your soup about 3 hours longer than the above directions, adding extra broth or water as needed while cooking.