Tag Archives: pasta

Pasta e fagioli with chicken

Pasta e fagioli

Pasta e fagioli is a classic italian recipe, a «primo» you will find anywhere in the italian peninsula, from the northest parts of Trentino – Alto Adige to the southest corners of Sicily. It has its roots deeply immersed in the history of the rural parts of the country and, frankly, I don’t know many Italians that haven’t tasted it and/or love it. There are as many recipes as there are families, but the main thing you need to remember is this: small pasta and beans. Lots of beans. And tomato.

As far as this particular dish we cooked goes, we had to improvise a bit, since we decided to make it at the very last minute. OK, that’s not entirely true, we decided to make it in the morning, but there were leftovers that needed to go, so we changed things a bit and added leftover rotisserie chicken. Because we had it. We also added a (very very hot) red chili pepper from our own pepper plant, because we wanted to try it. Yes, it was the very first chili from our own plant and it was fan-ta-stic. All in all, comfort food at its best.

One note: You are welcome to use canned beans and you are welcome to use any beans you like. We used dry cannellini beans, because that’s what we had in our jars, but anything is fine. We boiled the beans for more than two hours before using them in our dish, a step which, of course, you will skip if you are using canned beans. Also, keep in mind that dry beans take less time to boil if you soak them in water from the night before. In other words, don’t take our word for the time needed, always test your food.

Now, let me see if I remember everything we did.

What you’ll need:

½ cup dry beans, which you will boil along with some bay, a little oil, pepper. I always add a little lemon at the end.

Some pancetta, prosciuto or bacon (I used 4 rashers of bacon. They weren’t very thin, fyi)

2 carrots

1 large onion

1 red chili pepper from your garden (or from the supermarket) (optional)

(celery – I didn’t use any because we don’t like it, but everyone else loves it)

A couple of bay leaves

Some rosemary

Some thyme or oregano

About ¾ cup of ditalini

1 can crushed tomato

1-2 cups of rotisserie chicken

1 litre of chicken broth, vegetable broth or water

What you’ll do

  1. Ready the beans, by boiling them for endless hours, until they are ready.
  2. Chop the carrots, the onion, the chili pepper and the garlic (and the celery, if using).
  3. Cut the bacon in not-very-small pieces. Heat some olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add the bacon. Let it render some of its fat and then add the veggies (garlic included), the bay leaves (break them in half first), the rosemary and thyme or oregano and give them a swirl. Add some salt and pepper and let them cook for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato and bring everything to a boil.
  5. Add the beans along with about a cup of its juice. The thicker it is, the better. Bring to a boil again.

5 and a half. If you want, you can take about a cup of the bean mixture as it has cooked by now and blend it, then pour it back in the pot. That will make your mixture thicker, and, according to the old Italians, the thicker the better.

  1. Add the chicken, let it be incorporated with the rest and then add the broth (or water, whatever you are using). Bring everything to a boil.
  2. Once everything is boiling, add the pasta and let it boil. Cook for as long as the pasta needs to be prepared. At some point, taste for seasoning.
  3. Serve with some Parmesan cheese and some parsley.

This recipe yields 3-4 servings, depending on how much you eat and whether you are having it as a primo or secondo.

 

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Moroccan-style pasta

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 23.08.14I used to feel like there’s nothing better and quicker to create tiny explosions of taste in a relatively simple dish that cinnamon or cumin. Or both. Then, it was Gino D’Acampo that introduced me to the crackling, satisfying feeling of toasted almonds in a dish, and he did it with his Moroccan – style pasta.

This recipe is very heavily based on Gino’s recipe in his book Fantastico!: Modern Italian Food – I’m saying “based” and not “taken from the book, simply because I have left out the coriander (which I simply cannot stand) and, quite frankly, am liberally seasoning the dish with cinnamon and cumin. One teaspoon is simply never enough. We also used tagliatelle.

We also almost omitted the oil (you will notice we only use about a teaspoon and a half at the beginning) because we are on a diet.

Stop laughing!

Stop!

OK, now that you’re all better, let’s move on.

We also #fooked*, because it had been a while and we had missed it! Those of you who are new to fooking, I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients

1 onion, sliced

About 4-5 tomatoes, diced

Cinnamon and cumin

About 1 cup cooked chickpeas (we cooked ours)

About 100gr flaked almonds

About 250gr tagliatelle

Parsley

 

Preparation

Start by cooking the chickpeas, if they are not already cooked. You know, no salt while they are cooking, then add some at the end and don’t forget the lemon.

Add the onions with some oil in a deep pan and cook them for about five minutes, until soft and slightly brown. Add the diced tomatoes and the spices. Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down, their juices are making a nice, thick sauce and the aroma is filling your house.

Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle and, in a small pan, toast the flaked almonds. That’s really easy to do, just put the almonds in a small saucepan over medium heat. Also remember to toss them every once in a while, because they will burn quickly if you don’t.

When your sauce is nice and ready, add the chickpeas and cook for a further five minutes. Or longer if you want. What you are looking for is for all the smells to integrate with the chickpeas. When it’s done, add the tagliatelle and the parsley (keep a little bit to add when you serve) and cook for another a minute.

When it’s done, serve it, add the almonds and some more parsley and serve immediately.

Enjoy it with some cold beer (Mr. S added some feta cheese too, but what else is new!)

As always, let us know what you think!

Grazie Gino!


 

* Cooking with the Foo Fighters


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