Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sumer Time Pasta Fagioli

I say a few things in this video that aren't so true, it turns out to be much more pasta than soup or stew. I also promised a part two that never happened, oops, it's hard to keep track with a house full of company and some wine.

Making it with fresh versus dried ingredients was a great idea - it was full of flavor and really very, well I'm not sure how to say this other than to say seasonal and fresh in a way that canned tomatoes and reconstituted beans don't have. I made a huge pot for 8 people and given the heavy nature of it I was surprised to see how quickly it disappeared.

Serve this with good bread and a nice salad, it's a perfect summer meal and you never have to turn the oven on.

Summertime Pasta Fagioli

In a large pot heat 1/2 cup olive oil and 4 T butter. When the butter is melted add 4 medium finely chopped onions and saute until transparent about 8 minutes.

Add 2 carrots thinly sliced into rounds, 2 finely chopped celery stalks, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, cover pot and cook for about 10 minutes until the carrots start to soften.

Pour in 4 cups roughly chopped tomatoes, seeds, skin and all, bring to boil for about 3-5 minutes then add 2 bay leaves, 2 T fresh roughly chopped Rosemary, 2 T fresh roughly chopped basil, 2 crushed dried red peppers (or about 2 teaspoons pepper flakes or to taste) 3 T white miso paste, four cups of water or stock and 1 cup of white wine. Bring to a simmer and add 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of fresh cranberry beans, simmer for 25-20 minutes.

Taste at this point and season with salt and freshly grated black pepper.

I didn't do this, but if you wish retrieve from the pot with a slotted spoon about 2 cups of beans and place in a blender with enough liquid to puree and then reintroduce to the soup pot.

At this point bring the soup up to a rolling boil and add 8 ounces of whole wheat pasta shells (really you can use any shape this is the traditional one, you also don't have to use whole what I just prefer it - if you use white pasta you may want to reduce the amount of water/stock as the whole needs tends to need more. It's also about how much sauce you want, the extra water isn't going to hurt one way or the other, it's just going to give you more sauce.) Cook the pasta for about 8-12 minutes, it should be done but not mushy, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and more fresh herbs another handful of parsley, basil, rosemary.

Serve with a wonderful rustic bread with good olive oil or butter. Garnish each bowl with a generous portion of grated Parmesan and a swirl of very green olive oil.

A real crowd pleaser and great for lunch the next day!

Also if you want to you can use 1/2 pound of salted pork or ham hock in this soup. If you did this you would add it ad the start reduce the butter and oil by half.

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