Nonna Giusi’s Pasta e Fagioli
This isn’t actually MY nonna’s recipe, but my son’s nonna’s recipe…of course I tweaked it a bit, which is what I always end up doing! Regardless, even if I followed her recipe exactly it would never turn out as good as she makes it! Why is that?! Maybe when I finally become a nonna everything I make will taste better than everyone else’s!!
The other day I asked my mother-in law about her “secret” recipe for making the perfect “pasta e fagioli.” I hadn’t intended on making pasta e fagioli that night for dinner but decided it was worth a try (also because I had no idea what to make!) There are many different types of pasta you can use in this recipe, most often used is “short” pasta, such as ditalini, macaroni etc. The only thing I had on hand was orzo, which is also the perfect pasta to make for my 11 month old son. I made enough for Dad too but I set aside my son’s portion (for lunch the following day) before adding salt, pepper, and hot pepper flakes to my husband’s. If the “big guy” says it was good then that means the “little guy” will like it too!
(Makes about 3 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, halved
1/4 cup each finely diced red onion, celery, and carrot
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 cup orzo (or pasta of your choice!)
3-4 cups of water (depending on if you want the pasta dry or to contain more liquid)
1/2 cup diced canned tomatoes (San Marzano are the best!)
1 cup white kidney beans (you could substitute with chickpeas or any other bean)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Heat oil in a large saucepan for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add onion, celery, and carrot and cook for 5-7 minutes or until translucent. Stir often to ensure the veggies don’t stick to the pan.
Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes.
Once tomatoes are cooked add the pasta and water. Cook for 12-15 minutes on medium heat. Stir often so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
(If you find that most of the liquid has evaporated and the pasta is still not cooked just add 1/4 cup of water at a time.)
In the meantime, drain and rinse the kidney beans.
The pasta should still have a somewhat liquid consistency once adding the beans (pictured below). If the liquid has almost completely evaporated just add some water before adding the beans.
*TIP: The liquid will continue to evaporate after you take the pot off the heat. Be sure to remove from the heat while there is still some liquid in the pot otherwise the pasta will become too dry!
Add the beans, heat for about 2 minutes, remove from heat then stir in freshly grated parmesan.
Serve with another sprinkle of fresh parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. I actually prefer to remove some of the liquid for my son’s portion-I just find that broth and babies don’t mix! The pasta is still delicious and there’s less of a mess to clean up after lunch!
If your baby hasn’t been blessed with teeth yet why not try mashing the pasta or even pureeing it?!
”DID YOU KNOW…?”
According to the website http://www.pasta.go.it/statistics.htm Italians eat 3.191.505 tons of pasta a year! Canada ranks in 14th with 170.000 tons.
Want to become a pasta aficionado or just want to learn how to make it properly?! Check out the website http://www.barillaus.com/Pages/FAQ.aspx for more info.