Maria Grazia's Pasta
(Italian Country-Style Pasta & Bean Soup-Stew)
|This recipe for a famous main-dish thick Italian
soup, is from our hosts, Marcello and Raffa, who'll guide us through
Passionate Italy with CD
this December 19-26, 2005. You may have heard of this soup, without knowing you did,
for it was popularized under its colloquial affectionate name, "pasta fazool",
in the song "That's Amore", by Dean Martin (see below).
I hope you'll join us in Italy (see
Day by Day in Italia and
Book Your Passionate Italy
Adventure). But whether or not your schedule
and finances permit it, this dish will warm you body and soul throughout the winter months:
filling, healthful, and delicious. Start with a salad of good hearty greens
dressed with plenty of garlic, and you've got dinner. It sounds like there's
nothing much to it, but as Marcello writes, "This recipe is very simple, but in Italy a simple recipe,
but very well-prepared, can be fantastic. It has been also the best Pasta e Fagioli of my life!"
|A few ingredient notes:
the traditional bean for this is the borlotti, sometimes called the cranberry bean. (To find them, and many other
heirloom beans, visit
Phipps Country Store & Farm Scroll down the list to
"Cranberry, Tongues of Fire."). However, other, more common beans, such as
kidney or red bean, will also work well. You can also used canned beans plus
their liquid if you get in a time-crunch.
As for the "Maltagliati", they are small
irregularly broken pieces of lasagna noodles. Use macaroni if you cannot
find them, or any other short pasta.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of finely minced Italian parsley
2 1/2 cups cooked borlotti (cranberry) beans, or red or kidney beans, with
their cooking liquid (or 1 large 25-ounce can cooked beans)
1 28-ounce can tomatoes in juice, buzzed to a puree in the food processor
salt to taste
1 quart plus 1 cup well-flavored vegetable stock (either homemade or a boxed
natural foods brand, such as Imagine or Pacific Foods)
4 ounces dry (uncooked) "maltagliati" pasta, or other short pastas, such as
Accompaniments for serving: crisp slow-toasted thick rounds of rustic bread, grated
parmigiano cheese, a cruet of
extra virgin olive oil, a pepper mill, and a small dish of crushed red chile
(popularized by Dean Martin)
When the moon hits your eye
like a big pizza pie
When the world seems to shine
like you've had too much wine
Bells will ring,
ting-a-ling-a ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you'll sing, "Vita bella."
Hearts will play
Like a gay tarantella
When the stars make you drool
just like Y pasta fazool
When you dance down the street
with a cloud at your feet
You're in love
When you walk in a dream
but you know you're not dreaming
Signore, scuzza me, but you see,
back in old Napoli, that's amore!
|1. Place a large, heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat,
with the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and parsley and cook, stirring, for
|2. Add the beans, with a cup or two of the water in which they have cooked.
Add the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Let cook at a hot simmer, covered, for
30 minutes. Give an occasional stir.
3. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil again. Lower heat just
slightly, and stir in the "maltagliati" pasta with a wooden spoon. When the
pasta is cooked --- about 10 to 12 minutes --- it's ready. Serve at
once, very hot, passing all the accompaniments at the table. Ciao!