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I've been warned for weeks about sharing this recipe. From my mother, from my husband - each letting me know how everyone was going to have a complaint because this recipe is not like theirs, or their grandmother, or how they remember it. I know. But I did it anyway.
This is how my grandmother made it. It's how I remember eating it. And to be very honest, it's how I like eating it. And if you've never made it before, this is a good place to start! I ALWAYS tell you to make your food, your way! Don't like an ingredient? Skip it, swap it, use it differently. Don't like the consistency? Use more or less liquid. The food you cook in your home, for your family is YOURS! It's your time and effort and love, poured into a bowl. It's your memories, shared with those who still remember, and maybe a new generation. Perhaps it's creating a new memory for someone else to keep.
So go ahead, let me have it. But at the very least, be inspired to make YOUR family's version of this classic Italian dish. Because cooking at home is really all I ask of you.
Pasta e Fagioli
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. crushed tomato OR leftover tomato sauce
2 15 oz. cannellini beans (or ceci) drained, reserve liquid
1 lb. ditalini pasta*
red pepper flakes
grated parmesan for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook for 6-7 minutes.
While pasta cooks, heat oil in another deep pot. Add onion and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
Add garlic, stir until fragrant. Then add in tomato. Cook until the mixture becomes a bit sticky and tomato deepens in color.
Add in beans and cooked pasta. Stir to coat. Add cooking water from the pasta, along with the beans alternately until mixture reaches desired consistency. I like mine to be a soup.
Season generously with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of oregano and red pepper flakes. Serve warm topped with parmesan.
*CUCINA NOTE: If you're not serving the dish right away, or plan to have leftovers, do NOT cook and add all of the pasta. It will absorb all of the liquid. Simply store the cooked tomato and bean mixture in the fridge. When ready to serve, warm in a pan and add the appropriate serving of pasta, using that water to create a broth. You can also use vegetable stock if you prefer.