Pasta and Peasants

Well, it looks like we’ve reached our limit of cooler days here in Florida. ::sigh:: 

I say that because we got one cool day last week so I made a nice, hearty bowl of pasta fagioli. I took a photo of it when I finished and thought I’d share.

It’s a simple Italian meal my family made for dinner. I was told by my grandparents (whom I wrote about in my free memoir readThe Sweet Revolting Development.), that in Italy, the peasants made this meal because it didn’t cost much. They used the word “peasants” referring to the poor there.

The words pasta fagioli mean pasta and beans. The dish was cheap because they couldn’t afford meat, and yet it made a good, heavy meal. I’ll describe the ingredients, or recipe, below.

I offered a bowl to an Italian vegan once, and she didn’t want to eat it because she thought it had chicken broth. Yes, some people make it with broth, but I assured her, we did not.

There are many ways to make this hearty, delectable meal, but ours is plain and simple. We peasants know how to save money and make things tasty at the same time. 🙂

Now, my Nana might’ve told you that my recipe is not how it was made, but she also didn’t consider herself a “peasant” like the “southern Italians.” She was a northern Italian (from Tuscany), where the rest of my grandparents were from the south, near Naples.

Nana is the third one from the left standing among the peasants.

If you’d like the quick and easy way, just grab a large can of tomato puree (28oz unseasoned or tomato sauce), and one smaller can, size 15oz.

In large saucepan, heat 2 tbls extra light olive oil and add 1 to 2 large cloves minced garlic (depending on your taste). Maybe add one tablespoon of diced sweet onion if you’d like. I don’t like onion, but some people do. When garlic starts to sizzle, add tomato sauce. Keep on medium low and let simmer with seasonings like salt, pepper, basil, and a touch of sugar. Play it by ear and add any others you might like too. I don’t measure seasonings, so put in enough to satisfy your taste-buds.

While letting the sauce simmer, boil a pot of water and then add half pound of ditalini pasta. Cook as directed.

Since we’re doing it the easy way here, open two cans of Great White Northern Beans and rinse them off in a strainer. Pour the rinsed beans into the simmering sauce along with the cooked ditalini.Let simmer together for 30 minutes. The pasta & beans tends to soak up the sauce as it cooks.

Serve in a bowl, piping hot, with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and Italian bread on the side for dipping into the sauce.

And here it is again.


8 thoughts on “Pasta and Peasants”

  1. Oooh, thanks for sharing this recipe! It seems simple enough (and I DO love simple when it comes to cooking) and it looks like something my family would enjoy eating.


  2. This sounds really good, Lori. Mmm…we eat mostly vegan here and this is just the kind of dish that we enjoy. Thank you for the recipe! P.S. Where in Florida are you? My mom and dad winter down in Fort Myers Beach.


  3. Nothin’ but Italian and American blood … “something about me” … that might not be a good thing. 😉

    Thanks for stopping by and reading. There is a more difficult way to make this recipe, like using fresh tomatoes and beans, but I like the easy way and figured others would too. Thanks again and enjoy it.


  4. You’ve got Italian blood flowing through your veins? B) I knew there was something about you… 😉

    Honestly, I love the Italian language… the sound of it. I never did get around to really study it. Goodness, another reminder :O I better get busy, NOW 😆

    I also love Italy. Spent many summer vacations there.

    And, I love Italian food!

    Yum, this dish looks goooooooooooooooood! 😛 We like pasta, and tomato sauce, and beans. Wow, what a simple but yummy looking meal that is. I HAVE to try this.

    Thanks for sharing!


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