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 read – The 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.
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.