“When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool, that’s Amore !”
Let’s head to the most romantic country in the world with pasta e fagioli (pasta fagioli, pasta fazool or pasta fazul)
What is pasta fagioli?
Pasta fazool is the Neapolitan pronunciation of today’s dish. As the majority of Italian immigrants in the United States came from the south of Italy, this is the pronunciation that every “Tony Montana” has adopted.
It is this pronunciation which has been made popular by Dean Martin in his rendition of “That’s Amore” in the movie “The Caddy” with Jerry Lewis in 1953. Pure pleasure. ! La vita e bella!
Pasta e fagioli is also known in English as pasta and beans. This dish is originally a poor man’s meatless dish (cucina povera) like pizza and polenta. This dish does not really have just one recipe. Indeed, the origins of this dish can be traced to the countryside but it has spread to all the regions of Italy that have adapted it based on the local available ingredients.
Although there isn’t just one recipe for pasta e fagioli, some ingredients are essential to the dish like white beans (duh!). Cannellini, which grow in southern Italy, are typically used. Borlotti beans, also called Roman beans and also cultivated in Italy can be used as well.
The type of pasta that is traditionally used are macaroni elbows or ditalini, kinds of small cylinder sections. Other essential ingredients include olive oil, garlic and herbs.
What are the versions of pasta e fagioli?
While the original version of pasta e fagioli is vegetarian, some modern versions of the recipe, especially those served in restaurants include meat broth or even prosciutto or pancetta.
Depending on the pasta fagioli recipe, you can get a fairly liquid or soupy version, or a thicker dish. The version of Bari, for example, is thicker and uses a blend of different pastas. Some versions include broccoli (calabrese) or rapini cime di rapa).
Even though this pasta fazool recipe has been calling my name for a while, it was the first time I was making it and it will probably not be the last. I prepared this dish during a heatwave in Los Angeles. I will probably make this recipe during the winter when we fall to freezing temperatures around… 50 degrees Fahrenheit!
Pasta e fagioli (pasta fazool or pasta and beans is originally an Italian poor man's meatless dish (cucina povera) like pizza and polenta.
- 1 (15 oz.) can white canned beans (cannellini or borlotti Type)
- ½ lb pasta (elbow macaroni or ditalini)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (ideally San Marzano)
- 1 stalk celery , finely chopped
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 1 carrot , finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , crushed
- 1 sprig rosemary , finely chopped
- Olive oil
- Parmesan (optional)
- Pour 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion, carrot and celery for a few minutes on medium-high heat.
Add garlic and continue to sauté 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth as well as some of the canned bean broth. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot filled with salted water until al dente.
- Add three fourths of the bean into the broth.
- Mash the remaining beans in a bowl.
- Add this puree to the broth to thicken.
- Drain and add the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Continue to simmer until reaching the desired consistency.
- Serve hot garnished with basil chiffonade and parmesan shavings.