This week I am going to feature Italian recipes. My first entry is my Mothers Pasta Fagioli or as my family said “pasta fazool”. This recipe took my Mom a while to perfect, there were many attempts before she got it exactly how she wanted it, the broth is thin and contains beans that are cooked with salt pork and garlic, (I did not have nor could I find salt pork locally so I used what I had, which was a very fatty lightly smoked ham steak that I got from my CSA) you then make a very thin tomato based sauce, put the beans and sauce together and at the end add home made pasta. Grate some Parmigiano or Romano cheese on top and you have a hearty delicious soup. I like to make the soup the day before serving, refrigerate over night and add the pasta the next day before serving. This dish was pretty much my Mom’s signature dish and was requested often by family and friends. It’s very easy to make, I hope you will give it a try. The salt pork can be optional for a vegetarian soup and if you omit the pork add an additional clove of garlic and some onion to the beans. The home made pasta is also optional feel free to use commercially prepared pasta, be sure to cook it first before adding to the soup.
Ingredients and Directions:
1 1/4 cup great northern beans
1 clove garlic smashed
salt pork (about the size of a deck of cards)
8 cups water
Bring beans, garlic. pork and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for approximately 2 hours until beans are tender. I did not soak the beans overnight but if you do reduce cooking time by at least half.
1 28 oz can whole italian plum tomatoes (Blended until smooth)
1 can (28 oz) water – just fill the tomato can with water
1 clove garlic minced
1 shallot minced
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 fresh basil leaves
In dutch oven or large saucepan heat some olive oil, add garlic and shallot cook until they are soft and cooked through, add tomatoes, 3 basil leaves and water and cook for 30 minutes on medium heat.
When beans are done add to the tomato sauce (add beans and water they cooked in). Simmer on low for 20 minutes, the sauce will be thin, that is the way its supposed to be,adjust seasoning. Remove salt pork and add the cooked pasta, add 2 or 3 torn basil leaves and simmer for about 5 minutes and serve with grated parmigiano or romano cheese. NOTE: You can judge how much pasta to add I like about 2-3 cups of cooked pasta, it expands in the soup and you want to retain most of the broth.
2 1/2 cups AP flour
4 large eggs
1 tbs water
2 tsp olive oil
On work surface dump flour and make a well in the middle, add the eggs, water and olive oil and beat with a fork, working in a circle incorporate the flour until you have a cohesive dough, add more flour if your dough is too sticky. Knead until dough is smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Or by food processor (which I did) place flour in bowl then add the eggs, oil and water and pulse until it comes together into a ball. Turn onto lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
If rolling by hand roll dough with rolling pin as thin as you can, the dough should be almost translucent. Fold and cut into thin strips like linguine. If using a pasta machine follow manufacturers directions. NOTE: You will only need half of the pasta for this, wrap the other half of the dough well and freeze for later use).
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, when water is boiling add salt (the water should be salty like sea water) Add the pasta stirring to make sure each piece is separated and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and add to the bean and tomato sauce.
Rolling paper thin ready to become linguine