everything about this dish says “comfort” to me. pasta…beans…bacon. this is the perfect dish for a cold winter night. i’ve tried plenty of versions of this dish over the years, and have picked and pulled from many to come up with this version. it’s not very traditional, but it is delicious all the same. some versions of pasta e fagioli are more like a soup with lots of stock and bits of beans and pasta floating throughout. some are more like pasta dishes with the stock becoming so thick it’s more like a sauce. i prefer the latter, and this dish is a good example of that.
pasta e fagioli
- 1# cellentani pasta
- 2 14 oz, cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 # bacon, cubed or cut into lardons (you could also use pancetta, which is more traditional)
- 1 onion, finely minced
- 1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and minced
- 5-6 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and minced
- 7 cups good vegetable stock (i always use the pacific brand stock, it’s amazing)
- parmesan cheese
add the bacon or pancetta to a large stock pot that has been heated over a medium flame. allow the bacon to slowly render it’s fat and crisp up. once this happens add the onion, rosemary, thyme, and a little salt and stir occasionally while cooking, being sure to scrape up any of the brown goodness that has accumulated at the bottom of the pan. allow the onions to cook until they are glassy and then add the beans and cook for 1-2 minutes. add the stock and bring to a boil. once boiling add the pasta and cook per the package instructions. once cooked, turn off the heat, stir, cover, and walk away for 30 minutes. the pasta will have soaked up much of the accumulated juices and will be much more delicious for your patience.
serve with a heavy sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
notes: i use vegetable stock here because it doesn’t compete with the bacon the way that chicken stock does. it also turns this dish a vibrant orange. i was fortunate enough to have homemade bacon from a dear friend who happens to be a chef, however, just be sure to use something that has a lot of flavor to it. i replaced the traditional kidney beans with canellini beans because i love their soft creaminess in this dish. this dish was thoroughly enjoyed by fritz.