Pasta e fagioli

Noodles and Beans

Filling vegetarian Italian dinner for a cold night.

How to make pasta e fagioli:

A great hot winter meal, ready in about an hour. Start at breakfast by putting a cup of white beans (or pinto beans) to soak. Then an hour before dinner put the beans into a casserole with plenty of water to cook, and make bread, and then when the bread is in the oven start the rest.

In a medium-size frying pan, heat 1/8 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Chop an onion and saute it in the oil. Meanwhile, crush three cloves of garlic and three sprigs of chopped rosemary and add them to the pan too. If you don’t care about it being vegetarian add a handful of chopped bacon. When the onions is soft and a little bit browned, add a cup of tomato sauce, two cups of the water from the beans, and a cup of white wine. You can put in a cube of chicken bouillon or vegetable bouillon too.

Chop a quarter of a head of cauliflower into small pieces and add them to the sauce. Also add a cup of uncooked macaroni noodles. Add a cup of chopped parsley (pull the leaves off the stems), a teaspoon each of dried oregano, thyme, and basil (or sage), and a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Simmer for ten minutes or so, until the cauliflower softens, and then add the beans. Cook about five or ten minutes more, so the beans can absorb the flavors and the noodles are done, and then serve hot with the fresh bread on the side, and grated Parmesan.

This is solid enough to serve on dinner plates, but if you like it more soupy add more chicken broth and wine, and use soup plates. We like pasta e fagioli with a green salad on the side.

Vegan or vegetarian?

Yes, if you don’t put Parmesan on yours, or use vegan Parm. Leave out the bacon!

Can I keep this for later?

Sure. Put the leftovers in a tupperware in the refrigerator, and the flavors will blend and it will be even better than it was at first. You can reheat it for a couple of days.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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