Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beans and Pasta (Pasta e fagioli)

Growing up my parents provided a wide and varied table.  No jello salad - we had things like Turkey Ballotine or risotto or a hundred other dishes that, trust me, were not common in the rural midwest.

However, one thing that was not common (or ever) was pairing pasta with beans.  Pasta e fagioli in Italian.  Which is to bad - because it took me a long time before I put the two together, and let me tell you, it is a great dish.  Inexpensive, quick, varied, vegetarian (vegan, if you like).

Now this dish can be made soup like or dry - I, because I am not a huge soup fan, always make it dry.  But anyway you do it, it is great.

Looks and Tastes Great

Basically dirt simple.  Cook beans, cook pasta, mix.  Add whatever else you want.

The above dish is a little more complicated (and not very healthy, truth be told).  But really good.

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained.  You can use any white bean in it's place also
1 can diced italian (or not) tomatoes, drained
4 cloves of garlic, pealed and minced (don't use out of jar, please)
1 tbs Italian Seasoning from Penzey's
4 oz cured olives (order from Cresp, save yourself some money)
8 oz high fiber pasta
2 oz pesto (tastes great without it - if not using pesto, feel free to aggressively use fresh ground pepper)
Parmesan Cheese to taste (grate it fresh please, no jars)
Olive oil
1 lemon, quartered

Mix beans, tomatoes, italian seasoning and garlic with olive oil (at least 1 tbs, if not 2)
Roast in 350 degree oven for at least 20 minutes on a foil lined baking sheet.  The longer you go, the more dried out and nutty the garbanzos will be.
Cook pasta in salted boiling water - DO NOT OVERCOOK.  High fiber pasta is terrible overcooked.  I mean feed it to the chickens bad.
Drain pasta, mix with pesto and a tbs olive oil
When Beans are cooked, mix with beans/tomatoes on baking sheet, plus the olives, put back in oven for 5 minutes to let flavors meld.  Add more olive oil if it needs it.
Serve with fresh Parmesan and lemon - a squeeze of lemon really adds some nice acidity to the beans and pasta, which need it as there is a lot of fat on them.

Really quite a good dish.  Not diet friendly.  If you skip the parm, it's vegan.  Of course this is a fine dish to put sausage or chicken or shrimp in also

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