Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bean and Pasta Soup (Pasta e Fagioli) حساء الباستا والفاصوليا

A hearty pasta dish that will warm you on the coldest of nights. Bean and pasta soup is one of the most traditional recipes of the Italian peninsula; since it is widely spread and appreciated, there are several versions.
Because of this popularity, we can't say with any certainty where is the "real" home of bean and pasta soup, as many regions claim to own the original recipe: Veneto and Tuscany above all have made a local dish of bean and pasta soup.
Anyway, the bean and pasta soup recipe was born in the ancient Roman inns as a cheap yet tasty and nourishing dish, suitable for feeding many and various customers.
With the passing of time, bean and pasta soup has become the meal of peasants and farm workers, who could use nothing but their home-grown produce.
In Veneto the preparation of bean and pasta soup was an early autumn tradition because in the same period it was the custom to kill the pig and therefore to flavour pasta with rinds and bones.It's very easy to cook our bean and pasta soup: first of all prepare 1 pint of meat or vegetable broth which you'll need later. In the meantime, chop the lard finely and melt it in a wide saucepan, then add ¾ of the oil. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrot chopped very finely. When they are lightly browned, add the canned peeled tomatoes which you have previously diced; when the tomatoes become mushy, add one or two ladles of broth and let it dry completely.
While this mixture is cooking, put the bacon in another saucepan, which you can dice or cut into strips. Brown it with its own melted fat, then add the beans and let them flavour for a few minutes; add 2 ladles of stock and let it be absorbed by the beans.
Now add both beans and bacon to the mixture of onion, garlic, celery, carrot and tomatoes and cook them together for a few minutes. Boil your favourite short pasta in salty water until half cooked, than add it to the bean soup you've prepared.
Finish cooking the bean and pasta soup adding, when needed, some ladles of stock or of the remaining cooking water. The quantity of broth in the bean and pasta soup depends on your taste: add as much liquid (it must be hot!) as you need to get the consistency you prefer. If you want to obtain a quite creamy bean and pasta soup, you can liquidize 2 or 3 tablespoons of beans reducing them to a dip, and add them to the pasta. Finished cooking, sprinkle some black pepper and pour the remaining raw olive oil, let it flavour for one minute and serve your bean and pasta soup hot.