Updated: Oct 11, 2020
From "The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love—Recipes from the Big Easy . . . and Beyond" by Brian Theis, 2020 Click here for more on my new cookbook!
"When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool, that's amore." —Jack Brooks (with a little help from Dean Martin)
Pasta e fagioli (Pasta Fazool)
Makes 8 to 10 servings
1 pound dried borlotti beans (aka cranberry/Roman)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound pancetta or bacon, cut in cubes/strips
2 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, unpeeled, in 1/2-inch slices
3 ribs celery, in 1/2-inch slices
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup of a nice Prosecco
1 can (14 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 smoked pig knuckle or hock
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 cups ditalini, small shells, or elbows
Coarsely ground pepper
To large pot, add beans, cover with water by 3 inches and soak 10 to 12 hours, or overnight. They should absorb most of the water.
In a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, bring oil to just shimmering. Add pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, garlic. Cook till softened but not taking on color, about 7 minutes.
Add Prosecco, to deglaze and "insaporire" (flavor) the pancetta onion mixture, cooking for 4 minutes till alcohol reduced by half. Break up tomatoes by hand as you add to soup. Add rosemary, bay leaves, pig knuckle, beans, broth, 3 cups water, and stir.
Bring Dutch oven contents to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 1 hour 30 minutes or till beans are tender but retain a bit of a bite. While beans are simmering, cook pasta in water with 1 tablespoon salt till al dente. Set aside. Remove rosemary stems, bay leaves from beans.
Add the parsley, cooked pasta, a few coarse grinds of pepper, cook for 3 minutes more. Serve with a crusty Italian bread and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.