This is one of my family recipes. I mastered it when I was in school and now make it about once a month. Some of you may have had pasta fagioli before in restaurants, but my Italian side of the family has adopted the pasta fazool version. This pronunciation comes from Italian-American slang for the word “beans”. So when it’s cold outside or you want to stretch a buck and fill up on a hearty and healthy quick meal, this is for you. And it’s even vegetarian. Everyone will love it and no doubt be filled up.

Here’s what you need:

  • ½ a box of pasta- small shells, elbow or penne pasta work best.
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion or 2 small onions, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced (or I like to give it a big whack with the flat part of my chef’s knife. This allows for the oil to be infused, but your diners can identify it and pick it out if they are not fans of garlic. I however am, plus it is very good for you!)
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes or canned whole tomatoes (if you choose the whole variety you will just “squish” with your hands to get the most juice out of them. I find the diced work better though.)
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can of dark red kidney beans or cannellini beans (I used light red during shooting.)
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried basil
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese (please do not buy the Kraft brand, yuck!)
  • Salt and pepper

What you do:

  1. Cover the bottom of a medium sized saucepan with olive oil and heat on medium high.
  2. In the heated oil place a palm full of parsley and basil (about a table spoon each) for about 30 seconds.
  3. Dice the onion and put the smashed garlic gloves and onion in the oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Make sure to not burn the garlic (stir regularly.)
  4. Once the onions are done, pour in the can of tomatoes and add about ¼ of a teaspoon (about 4 shakes) of crushed red pepper. Cover and bring to a boil.
  5. Once at a boil, add a half a can of water, re-cover and lower the heat to medium. Should remain at a simmer (small constant but not rapid bubbles.)
  6. Cook for 25- 30 minutes (the longer it cooks the better it gets, but you will have to continue to add water.)
  7. With 10 minutes left in cooking, bring another medium saucepan with water to a boil. Add a liberal amount of salt to the boiling water. Add pasta. Cook until al dente (has a bit of a bite. Literally means “to the tooth” in Italian.) Lower the fazool part to low heat and add the kidney beans and heat through.
  8. Drain pasta once cooked (8-10 minutes) and add directly to the other saucepan. Thoroughly combine.
  9. Serve in a pasta bowl and add a teaspoon (a sprinkle) of Parmesan.
  10. Enjoy with a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon or ice-cold glass of milk.

Mangia, Mangia!


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