Pasta e Fagioli

Ma' Belmont's Pasta e Fagioli

Having never made a soup when I opened the store in 1991, I often asked my friends for any family recipes they might be willing to share.  Using this a starting point, I would personalize it to fit the process of our facility.  This one remains pretty consistent with the original given to me by my friend Michael Belmont, from his mother. So, Thanks to Ma' Belmont!

Photos by Jon Feldman

Ingredients:

  • 1 #10 can Pear or Plum tomatoes. (Stanislaus -Alta Cucina  plum or Valarosa Pear are best).  I found it best to use a mix of 1/2 each, but that will leave you with enough to feed two or three Italian families.
  • 1/3 cup fresh Parsley - chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh Basil - chopped
  • 1 lb Ditalini pasta 
  • 2 cups chicken stock (optional, but it really tastes better with rather than without)
  • 2 - 26 oz cans of Cannellini beans (White Kidney beans)
  • 1 cup chopped Spanish or white onion
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic minced well
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • Fresh grated Parmesan
Total time: 3 hours or more.

This recipe contains 4 parts that are put together at the end to create the most comforting of Italian delights.

Part 1

The longest part to prepare is the tomato concoction. Start by hand crushing the tomatoes in a large bowl.  When crushed, place all the contents in a large pot with an equal part water from the can(s).  Add the basil and parsley, salt and pepper, and cook on medium high for 2 hours, or up to 3 hours, to reduce by 1/3.

Part 2  

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, and cook pasta "al dente". Set aside and reserve at least 3 cups of starchy water to add later.







Part 3 

In a separate pot, add olive oil, onions, garlic, and red pepper, and sauté over medium to low heat for 15 minutes, or until the kitchen smells like the mixture.  Set aside until ready to use.












Part 4

Drain and rinse beans well. Set aside.


The last part is to combine all ingredients with the tomato mixture (including the optional chicken stock) and let sit at a low heat for 20 minutes.  This is where you can add the starchy water to get your preferred consistency.




















The noodles will continue to absorb much of the liquid of the soup over time, so I will retain some of the starchy water to add as needed over the next few days, that is if any of the soup remains.  My experience is that two or three bowls per person is not unusual.

Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.





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