During the cold winter months, Nana made a lot of her wonderful peasant dishes. These meals usually consisted of pasta, beans and vegetables to not only fill you up but also were meant to feed an entire family. These dishes were nourishing for the body and the soul. Two of my favorites were peas and macaroni (pasta e piselli) and bean and macaroni (pasta e fagioli). This recipe is for pasta e fagioli, or as we called it when we were growing up-Pasta Fazool!!!
It’s so easy to make and lends itself to variety. For example, you can add kidney beans or garbanzo beans, potatoes or orzo to change it up. Something Nana did a lot.
Here’s the recipe:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot – diced
1 stalk of celery – diced
1 medium onion – sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
8 oz chicken broth
Fresh Italian parsley and basil – chopped
1 bay leaf
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans juice and all
1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta (you can also use small shells)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup grated Italian cheese (I mix parmigiano reggiano and locatelli romano together)
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute carrot, celery and onion until soft. Add garlic.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, pepper, salt, parsley and basil and simmer for 20 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the ditalini pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente, then drain.
- Add beans to the sauce mixture and simmer for a few minutes.
- When the pasta is done, stir it into sauce and bean mixture.
- Add the bay leaf and some of the Italian cheese to the mixture to thicken it a bit.
- Serve in bowls with warm Italian bread for dipping in the delicious sauce.
* This recipe will serve about 4 people or two really hungry people!