Pasta e Fagioli

Let me start by wishing myself a Happy Name Day! Today is the Feast of St. Lucia. It was also my grandmother's birthday. She was who I was named after.

For quite some time I have been in search of the perfect Pasta e Fagioli recipe. Most recipes have a tomato base but I prefer it without the tomatoes. There is a restaurant near my Dad's house, Lorenzo's, which makes it just the way I like it, no tomatoes.

I have finally found a recipe that I can say will be my favorite. It came from an eblast I received from La Cucina Magazine site. Pasta and Bean Soup with Sausage. The recipe calls for pancetta in addition to the sausage. Some toasted Italian bread, a drizzle of olive oil and a glass of wine made this a delicious dinner.

The recipe says it makes enough serve 4 to 6 people. I had enough for dinner tonight, I froze some and I brought some to my Dad!

Ingredients
6 ounces dried cannellini beans (1 cup)
1 whole head garlic plus 1 garlic clove (I did not use any garlic)
2 sprigs fresh thyme, rosemary or sage
7 ounces thick-cut pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 1/2 ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
4 cups vegetable broth
8 ounces ditaloni rigati (Opted for elbow macaroni)
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Instructions
Rinse beans, then place with head of garlic and herb sprigs in a large saucepan and cover with water by 3 inches. Soak for 8 hours, or overnight.

Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil; reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, adding water as necessary to keep level 2 to 3 inches above beans, until beans are tender, about 45 minutes or more (cooking time varies depending on age of beans).

Reserving cooking liquid, drain beans through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard garlic and herb sprigs. Separately, set aside beans and their liquid.

Finely chop remaining garlic clove. In a large heavy pot with lid or Dutch oven, combine pancetta and sausage; heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently and breaking up sausage into bits with a wooden spoon, until fat is rendered and sausage is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Add onion and oil, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add reserved beans, 2 cups bean cooking liquid, broth and 2 1/4 cups water; bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 25 minutes.

Increase heat to bring soup to a low boil; add pasta and cook until pasta is just al dente (pasta will continue to cook in soup; do not overcook). Season with salt and pepper to taste (soup can be thinned, if desired, using remaining bean cooking liquid). Ladle soup into serving bowls; sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with oil.

So it has been a week since my last post. It has been a busy week around here. We have had a few visitors...

But the big news is that this Saturday we will be picking up a cat from Forgotten Felines. Her name is Lucy and she has had a rough life so far.

We hope she and Archie will be best friends.



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