Pasta Fagioli Recipe - A Hearty And Delicious Family Favorite
This is a recipe you have to tweek over the years and make your own. Mom's sauce is out of this world. Sorry, no actual recipe exists. There is no precise measuring in her recipe. The main ingredient is love. The pasta is the same way. We're talking old school, handmade pasta. No machines doing the work. This truly is a labor of love!
While the sauce is cooking, the plywood comes out. Next, no wimpy rolling pins, she uses about a 2 foot long piece of hardwood dowel to apply the proper gentle touch. After about half an hour the light golden pieces are being cut into abstract shapes and dried.
Remember this is a leftover dish. After, over calcualting the amount of sauce (usually on purpose) for a Sunday or Holiday dinner, you have to do something with the sauce! You can't waste it. The leftover recipe depends on a couple of things.
If there are only a couple of cups and it's not meat sauce, go with the Pasta Fagioli recipe. If it's meat sauce a good bet is the Tomato Pie Recipe. Meat sauce doesn't work well with the pasta fagioli recipe.
Hopefully,you've developed your own special pasta sauce, if not, check my Tomato Sauce for Pasta Fagioli Recipe for some ideas.
This is a great tasting, uncomplicated dish to prepare. You have to start somewhere, try some leftover garden sauce.
PASTA FAGIOLI RECIPE
Start warming your Pasta sauce on low, add about a cup of water. The amount of water for thinning the sauce will depend on it's thickness. You want the sauce soupy without losing a lot of flavor.
If your sauce has pork or beef ribs that were used for flavor remove and pull the meat off the bone in little pieces and stir into sauce. If you have a meatless sauce that will work as well.
Add the beans to the sauce and increase to medium heat, stirring occassionally. In a seperate pot boil water for the pasta. Check sauce to be sure beans are done before cooking pasta.
If you don't want to make homemade pasta a favorite for this recipe is Ditalini pasta. Cook pasta as per instructions for "al dente". When done, drain in a collander, run cold water completely over pasta, drain again and let stand. If the pasta goes into the sauce hot, it will continue to cook, suck up the sauce, turn to mush and break up.
Stir cooled pasta into sauce and serve with plenty of grated cheese and crusty Italian bread.
2 cups leftover pasta sauce
1 cup water
8 0z. Ditalini pasta or your fresh pasta
VARIATIONS - Pasta Fagioli Recipe
SUBSTITUTIONS - This recipe will evolve into what you want it to be. Here are some alternatives for the ingredients.
In the mood for this recipe but don't have leftover pasta sauce? A 16 oz can or jar of your favorite pasta sauce will do the job.
Some sauces don't thin down well. if this is the case, replace the water with a can of chicken broth. This substitution gives the recipe a richer flavor.
The beans. Northern White beans, dark or light kidney beans all taste great in this dish. We use the "what's in the pantry" method on this one.
The pasta. Ditalini are popular because they hold sauce very well. These short little tubes match up nicely. Small Bowties or any other sauce holding pasta will work. Smaller sizes for soups are a better choice.
If you're daring and you have more time than the 20-30 minutes it takes to make this recipe, adventure into homemade pasta. This will add another hour or so to the time. The difference using homemade pasta takes this recipe to another level of good. I will include my easiest homemade pasta recipe at a later date. Meat.
Earlier I touched on using pork from the original sauce if available. I think the taste and texture of this dish changes with a little meat.
I frequented two Italian restaurants for the Pasta Fagioli. Both recipes were very good but something was different than what I was used to. They both had mystery meat that jacked up the flavor. One used pepperoni the other used panchetta.
I had some fresh garden sauce leftover and decided to give it a try. I grabbed a handful of pepperoni leftover from one of our Pizza nights, cooked it down in a frying pan drained off the grease, chopped it up and let it cook in the sauce for an hour. The outcome has become part of my signature Pasta Fagioli Recipe.
Experiment a little and make it your own.