Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pasta fazool

There is music inside this pot of beans.

If only I could play it.

One line of the lyric is all that I can muster: Pasta fazool-a make-a weak-a man-a strong.

It is my mother's voice that I hear, and she is singing a tune that her father would sing to her. I have added the "-a"s for authenticity. My grandfather, an immigrant, spoke with a very heavy accent, and his daughter, when mimicking his singing, did her best to achieve her father's countenance.

Not even Uncle Dominic can remember more of the song than I can, and so you are hereby spared any further comment on this topic. (You're welcome.)

Anyway, about the dish. It is pasta and beans. Its proper name is pasta e fagioli. It is perhaps the easiest thing to prepare this side of warming tap water in a saucepan. And, according to the people in my orbit anyway, it is the most comforting bowlful of goodness that you will ever put a spoon to.

I put a spoon to the stuff just a few days back. It was already cold — and rainy — here in Maine (don't get me started) and I was staring at the cannellini beans just harvested from my garden. What can I say? The pasta fazool song came bursting into my brain, and so here we are.

If you know the dish, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, well, everybody could use a little music in their lives, right?

Pasta e fagioli (Pasta fazool)
Note: This is a big batch, as I had a lot of cannellini beans this year, so please feel free to halve this recipe. Further, I added sausage meat on this occasion. This is not traditional, and resulted only because there were sausages in the fridge that required cooking.

14 cups water
4 cups fresh or dried beans (I used cannellini but any type will do)
6 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
2 Tbsp rosemary
1 piece of rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt to taste
3 Italian sausage, meat removed from the casings (optional)
1/2 lb. pasta of your choice (I used shells)
Grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot of boiling water add the beans, garlic, rosemary, cheese rind and salt.
About 20 minutes before the beans are cooked to your liking add the sausage meat (if you're using it).
Just before the beans are fully coked, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
In a bowl top with grated cheese and ground pepper and serve.
Sing — or don't sing — my grandfather's song. Makes no difference to me.


Velva said...

Pasta Fagioli is a definite warming, soul satisfying soup.

Love the idea, that the cannelinni beans in your soup are from your garden. Wow.

Sending Florida sunshine your way.


Vibey @ Yumbo McGillicutty said...

Now THAT's amore! My mother called this dish "minestra di poveri" but it is so deeply satisfying and delicious that all these years later I still don't know why she was so dismissive about it. Poor people know how to eat too! She often finished it off with a combination of chopped parsley and garlic and a trickle of olive oil just before serving. Yum.

Kate. said...

looks great, and where'd you get that crusty bread?!?

Mister Meatball said...

V & V: Nice to find like-minded bean eaters!

K: Pane's from Standard, as Scratch was out.

Anonymous said...

Ok I am singing:)Definitely my favourite beans,but I prepare them slightly different.We are according to the smell of Earth in my garden..coming closer and closer to the's our turn now:)

Mister Meatball said...

Singing and springtime, what could be better!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hearty and delicious this soup is a favorite in our house!

Anonymous said...

my grandma called it fazool too
the rind - that's a real boost - never would have thought of it

if not singing, should be listening to caruso

Anonymous said...

Dean Martin sings That's Amore and one of the lines is "Joost-a like pasta fazool. That's amore." which is where I remember it from. ;)