Some of the best dishes in the world's cuisines came from the necessity to eat cheaply. Pasta e Fagioli — or pasta "fazool" in dialect — is one of those dishes. Besides being highly nutritious, macaroni and beans are cheap and filling.
While this dish often is made only with cannellini beans, this recipe uses other varieties — red, kidney and pink beans — that add color and their distinctive flavors. Convenience is key here. A pantry stocked with pasta, canned beans and chicken broth plus staples such as fresh carrots, celery and onions equals dinner on the table in minutes.
This recipe makes a large batch of pasta and beans. The mix will thicken in the refrigerator — just stir in a bit of water or more chicken broth when reheating — but leftovers also can be frozen.
PASTA E FAGIOLI
>>2 tablespoons olive oil
>>2 cups diced onion
>>1 cup diced carrot
>>1 cup diced celery
>>1 (8-ounce) stick pepperoni, chopped
>>1 cup white wine
>>1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
>>1(15.5-ounce) can red beans, drained
>>1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
>>1 (15.5-ounce) can pink beans, drained
>>32 ounces chicken broth
>>2 cups water
>>3 tablespoons fresh oregano
>>8 ounces cooked Ditalini pasta
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and pepperoni. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce to almost dry. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and drained beans and mix well. Pour in the broth and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the fresh oregano and cooked pasta. Serve with grated parmesan. Makes 4 quarts or 16 8-ounce servings.
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