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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pasta e Fagioli

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
I see snow on the mountains so it must be time for hot soup, especially hot soup with beans and pasta in it. This classic Italian soup recipe is from Nigella Lawson, who I adore. Nigella reminds us that this is the very same dish that Dean Martin sings about in “That’s Amore” Do you know that song?

3 cups dried Cranberry beans
6 cloves garlic
3 sprigs rosemary, 2 for soup, 1 for garnish
1 onion, peeled and quartered
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons olive oil
7 ounces mini pasta tubes
cheese cloth, or one old, but clean, knee-high stocking

Cover beans with water and let soak overnight. Drain beans and place them into a large saucepan. Mash 5 garlic cloves with the back of your knife or with your fist and put in the pot with the beans. Now take 2 of the rosemary sprigs and cut up onion and put them into the knee-high stocking (or use cheesecloth) and throw that into the pot as well. Cover all this with cold water and bring to a boil. Now turn down the flame and simmer for 1 hour or till tender, then add salt and pepper. Remove the herbs and onion sock at this point and throw away. Take a mug full of beans from the soup and blend in your food processor along with the tomato paste and 1 1/4 cups of liquid from the soup. Add this back to soup pot to thicken. In a small sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and add to it one microplaned clove of garlic, and chopped rosemary leaves, removed from the last sprig. Sauté briefly and add to soup. Now bring mixture back to the boil and add the pasta and cook till the pasta is tender. Drizzle a little extra olive oil on top.