I get many requests for my pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) soup. As well as lasagna, there are probably as many recipes as the number of Italian families... So this is mine. I use borlotti beans, typical of northern Italy, because more flavorful than the cannellini beans. I love it regardless of the season or the temperatures, being it great even at room temperature. I hope you'll give it a try and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
1/2 lb Italian spaghetti, broken into 1" pieces
1 cup Italian dried borlotti beans
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 cup strained Italian San Marzano tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 sage leaves
1 rosemary sprig (leaves only)
8 cups vegetable broth
4 tbsp high quality Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian sea salt
Soak borlotti beans for 12 hours (overnight). In places with drier climate, like Nevada, you will have a better result by soaking beans 24 hours.
In a big saucepan with lid over medium heat, transfer soaked beans (drained from soaking water), onion, carrot, potato dices, sage and rosemary. Add broth at least enough to cover all ingredients; cover with lid and bring to a boil.
When boiling, add the tomatoes, bring back to boil, then lower to simmer and cook, covered, until beans are done (1 1/2 hr. at least). If broth evaporates too much, add warm broth as needed.
When beans are done, bring back to boil, ass salt and pasta. Stir and cook until pasta is al dente.
Serve immediately, drizzled with olive oil (it's good served at room temperature, too).
This recipe serves 4.
- It is very important to cook beans at a very low temperature (simmer), this way their skin won't toughen as if cooked in a rapidly boiling liquid. You can also add a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water, to get a softer skin.
- For a quicker dish, you can use 2 cans of Italian borlotti, drained and rinsed and the cooking time will be cut to the time actually needed to cook carrot, onion and potato dices.
- If you want a thicker texture, blend some of the beans and veggies.
- You can use a short cut Italian pasta like ditalini or elbow.
- You could also substitute pasta with farro or rice.
- It is considered a complete meal. You can serve some salad, if you like.
- It is a vegetarian/vegan and lactose free. To make it gluten free, use either gluten free pasta or rice. Don't use farro: it's a grain!