(AKA Pasta Fazool)
Not really a summer recipe, but a great one for when you have nothing fresh in the house. Wonderfully filling and lovely. Used dried beans if you like, but soak overnight first.
- 2 cans pulses (any sort: kidney, cannellini, flageolets or haricot)
- 125g cubed panchetta or chopped bacon
- 2 tblsp olive oil
- 1 shallot or a 1/4 – 1/2 an onion, chopped
- 1 carton or a can of chopped tomatoes
- stock cube (any sort)
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- large handful of chopped herbs – oregano, rosemary, marjoran and thyme are nice
- 200gms small pasta, like Conchigliette (tiny shell pasta)
- Salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, fry the pancetta and shallot or onion in the olive oil until the onion is soft. Drain about half the water from the beans and add to the pan with the chopped tomatoes and the stock cube and boiling water. Add the chopped herbs and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or more or until the beans are tender. Longer is better as some beans can remain hard. Watch it carefully as the water can easily cook away and you run the risk of burning the soup. Add additional water if required. 15 minutes before the end, add the pasta (and a little more water if necessary).
When the pasta is cooked, serve with crusty bread or polenta as desired. I like to make a double batch of soft polenta to serve the first time, then let it harden and slice and grill it for the next day’s serving. The second day is always the best.