Monday, November 9, 2009

Pasta and beans

Or Pasta e fagioli, if you want to be Italian about it. Yum. One of my favorite meals, and Benjamin's too, ever since my dad first served it to him. We made it last night. This is an approximation of the amounts, since I am working from memory, but it is pretty flexible. If you want to make it vegetarian, simply eliminate the bacon and the sausage, and use vegetable broth. If you want to play with the vegetables in it, feel free. My dad makes it with fennel some times. There are lots of similar recipes out there, in cookbooks and on the internet, so find them, try them out, and combine what you like about them. That is basically what we did here. We usually have enough for two people for dinner, a lunch each the next day, and one dinner serving for the freezer. Make sure to make enough pasta!

  • 3-4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced or crushed
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • basil - amount is up to you. I always think the more the merrier. Dried or fresh, also up to you. If using fresh, you should probably wait and add it closer to the end.
  • oregano - see note with basil
  • salt - 1/2 tablespoon or to taste (keep in mind that the beans do suck up some of the salt)
  • 16 oz. can of tomatoes (diced or stewed or whole, whatever is your preference. I use diced)
  • 1/2 cup broth
  • 1 can each of : pinto beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans (or cannellini, or whatever floats your boat), drained and rinsed. Try to get beans without added sugar or flavors.
  • 1/2 kielbasa, sliced or diced
  • Spaghetti or other noodles of your choice.
1. Crisp the bacon in a large saucepan or soup pot. When it is brown, scoop it out with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. If there is a lot of grease in the pan, or if you want to be healthy, remove the grease. Otherwise, leave up to 1 tablespoon.

2. Saute the onions, garlic, and carrots until soft - 5-10 minutes on medium heat. Add the basil, oregano, and salt. Add canned tomatoes, broth and crisped bacon and cook for 5 minutes to combine flavors. Start water for the pasta.

3. Add the drained and rinsed beans. Simmer for a while to combine flavors and warm the beans.

4. Add kielbasa to the beans when you add the pasta to the water.

5. Serve the sauce over the pasta and top with Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

Mike Donovan said...

This is Hope's dad. I almost always do add Fennel, depending upon what the season is. At some time of the year, Fennel bulbs are really small or unavailable. You can also add leeks, red or green bell peppers. There is no limit to what you can add.