My daughter has been pestering me for days to post this recipe as her friends want to make it. Apparently, they tasted it when she brought it to school and it was a huge hit.
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This is typical Italian peasant food: pasta (making it soupy requires less pasta) with no meat, (because beans were cheaper and supplied the protein). However, it is so tasty, with homemade tomato sauce and REAL grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese–pure comfort food and perfect in winter! This is a fabulously easy meal because it only contains three ingredients and is ready in the time it takes to boil pasta (it’s also vegetarian, and vegan).
I’ve been asked, so I’m adding a link here for the Parmigiano Bowl in the photos however, I paid under $10 for mine at a shop.
I never measure any of the ingredients when I make pasta and beans, so please don’t focus on the importance of the measurements. More or less of any of the ingredients won’t make a huge difference, in fact you may like it more or less soupy (adjust how much water you leave in the pot), or saucy, or with extra beans. You should be able to cook this without measuring anything after making it a couple of times–it’s that simple.
NOTE: you can also make a “dry” version, by draining all the water, and adding the beans and sauce. However, 8 ounces of dry pasta won’t feed four, you’ll have to add at least 4 more ounces of pasta (3/4 of a 1lb box).
Pasta and Beans (Pasta e Fagioli)
- 8 ounces bite size pasta (tubetti, small shells, broken spaghetti, linguine etc. can all be used) I use De Cecco for best results
- 8 ounces (one cup) cooked beans (any kind of bean will do, including garbanzo; I used Borlotti)
- 4 ounces meatless pasta sauce (1/2 cup) more or less depending on your taste of course homemade is best, but a good quality vegetarian sauce from a jar will work, just don’t tell me :(
- Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, to serve (please don’t use a lower quality cheese-read my rant below)
Cook the pasta until it is almost al dente (a little hard, not completely cooked) making sure there is plenty of water in the pot. Remove some water, but reserve to use later, if needed. I usually try to make the water level with the pasta, as in the photo below. Add the beans, and stir to heat through (keep the burner on).
Next, add the pasta sauce. If it’s too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water.
Stir thoroughly, and just let the pasta start to come to a boil, then remove from heat. Ladle the pasta and beans into serving bowls, add grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and dinner is served!
I told you it was easy.
Just a fair warning: everyone seems to want second and third helpings of pasta and beans, so you’d better make extra, or you may have lots of empty bowls and sad faces (especially applies to the little ones).
And now for my rant~
I cannot emphasize how important it is to use good quality ingredients! Friends often tell me their dish didn’t taste like mine, however, after a couple of questions, I realize they substituted inferior quality ingredients. This is exactly the reason it didn’t turn out as they had expected.
For example, when making this pasta and beans recipe, if you use a no-name pasta, “famous name” tomato sauce and a can of store bought beans, I can guarantee it will not taste nearly as good as the way I make it (I know I’d hate it).
I use De Cecco pasta (my favorite brand), and cook dried beans myself. I love Borlotti/cranberry Beans which you can find online and at many bulk item stores. I make homemade pasta sauce using extra virgin olive oil, tomato puree from Italy (you can find this puree at Cost Plus World Market) and fresh garlic, parsley, basil etc.
Trust me, every little ingredient makes a difference. Okay, I’m done–I feel much better now!
- 8 ounces bite size pasta (tubetti, small shells, broken spaghetti, linguine etc. can all be used)
- use De Cecco for best results
- 8 ounces (one cup) cooked beans (any kind of bean will do, including garbanzo)
- 4 ounces pasta sauce (1/2 cup) more or less depending on your taste of course homemade is best, but the jarred kind will work
- Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, to serve (please don’t use a lesser quality cheese-read my rant below)
- Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package until it is almost al dente (a little hard, not completely cooked). Remove some water, (but reserve to use later, if needed); I usually try to make the water level with the pasta.
- Now add the pasta sauce. If its too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water.
- Stir thoroughly, and just let the pasta start to come to a boil, then remove from heat.Ladle into serving bowls, add grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and dinner is served!
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