Pasta Fasùl (Pasta Fagioli)
Growing up in our Italian American household we could always count on one of our favorite meatless meals on a Friday night...Pasta Fasùl. Depending upon the region of Italy your family is from, you may know it as pasta fagioli or pasta fasùl (fazool). Our grandparents were from Naples and Sicily, which shared the same word for beans, fasùl. Technically this dish is a soup; however, we loved it best when most of the liquid dried up & was topped with lots of grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Our Mom always made this with small or medium-sized pasta shells; however, you can use any small pasta in your pantry as we did tonight. This is a very rustic meal but can be dressed up with the addition of any vegetable you have on hand, i.e. spinach, carrots, zucchini or escarole. To complete this meal, serve with a side salad. Give it a try on those nights you're pressed for time and let us know how you and your family like it.
- 1 lb. medium or small pasta shells or elbow pasta (we used ditalini as that’s what we had on hand)
- 10 cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 cans cannellini beans, do not rinse or drain the liquid
- 1 cup prepared tomato sauce (preferably homemade or your favorite jar sauce)
- 1 small can tomato paste plus same can filled with water to dilute
- salt to taste
- reserve at least 1 cup cooked pasta water
- Pecorino Romano grated cheese for topping
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a Tablespoon of salt then add pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining reserve at least 1 cup of the pasta water then drain pasta & set aside in a large bowl.
- In a large, deep skillet on medium heat add EVOO. Add smashed garlic & sauté a minute or two but don’t burn.
- Add the 4 cans of cannellini beans and stir well until they begin to boil. Lower heat to medium-low and add 1 cup prepared sauce & small can of tomato paste with a small can of water. Add a little of the reserved pasta water if too thick. Combine well and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes.
- If you prefer a soupier pasta fasùl just add more of the reserved pasta water until it’s the consistency you like.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes in a covered pot before serving.
- Top with grated cheese & garnish with fresh basil or parsley (optional)
NOTE: To make this meal gluten-free, just substitute any small-sized gluten-free pasta in place of regular pasta.
This dish thickens as it sits so if you want a thinner sauce, add more liquid in step 3-4 while cooking.
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