Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup)

Pasta e fagiole

I made this soup weeks ago – twice, actually – and it was so delicious I could not have enough of it, but since then we’ve been having such hot days here in Sao Paulo I could not bring myself to publish the recipe here on the blog: it is really hard to even think of hot soup when it’s 35°C (95°F) outside. :S

Now that the temperatures are more reasonable, I gladly bring you Antonio Carluccio’s pasta e fagiole – I am sure my friends in the Northern Hemisphere will appreciate a good soup recipe right now. :)

This recipe has become one of my favorite soups, so easy to make – especially if you have cooked beans stashed in your freezer, which is something I highly recommend everyone to do –, so comforting and tasty, and it tastes even better the next day: what I did differently from the recipe below the second time around was to cook the pasta separately and add it to the bowls right before serving the soup, that way avoiding the pasta to swell too much.

Pasta e fagioli
slightly adapted from the delicious and beautiful Pasta: The Essential New Collection from the Master of Italian Cookery

400g dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
100g bacon, in small cubes
½ onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 liter vegetable stock
150g short dried pasta
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
finely grated pecorino or parmesan, to serve

Drain the beans, place them into a medium saucepan and cover with cold water (don’t add salt). Cook for about 1 ½ hours or until soft. Drain and process half the beans into a paste using a food processor.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Add the onion and carrot and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes, the stock and bring to the boil. Add the beans (both crushed and whole) and the pasta and cook for about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
Divide the soup among bowls and serve with freshly grated cheese.

Serves 4

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