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Recipe for :

Minestra di Pasta e Fagioli - Bean and Pasta Soup
 

This is one of the recipes that has been provided by Shirley Cline from San Francisco in response to my quest for recipes using Balsamic Vinegar. (You can contact Shirley by emailing her - click here).

"This is from Lidia's Italian Table. I've made it several times and everyone loves it. I use the Great Northern white beans".

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups dried borlotti beans or cranberry, pinto or white beans
3 quarts cold water
3 large baking potatoes, peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. peperoncino (red pepper flakes)
2 Tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium size onion, chopped
1 recipe Trito (recipe follows)
1 cup canned peeled Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
1/4 lb. ham hocks or fresh or smoked pork butt or other meat for flavoring, parboiled
1 cup ditalini pasta
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Trito:
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
3 Tblsp. extra virgin olive oil plus 1 Tblsp extra, if storing

Method
  • Pick over the beans, discarding any stones or other objects and any beans that are discolored. Place the beans in a deep bowl and pour in enough cold water to cover them by at last 4 inches. Soak the beans in a cool place for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  • Drain the beans and transfer them to a deep heavy 4-5 quart pot. Add the water, potatoes, rosemary, bay leaves and crushed red pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust the level of the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium size skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often until light golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in the trito and continua cooking until fragrant and very lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Scrape the trito mixture into the soup pot. If using ham hocks, add them now. Continue simmering until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. If using pork butt, add it 30 minutes after adding the trito mixture.
  • Meanwhile as soon as the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a bowl, mash them roughly and return them to the pot (the soup can be prepared to this point up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Bring the soup to a boil before continuing).

Trito:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until very smooth. Stop the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides of the container. Transfer the trito to a small bowl and smooth the surface.
  • To store, drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over the surface and refrigerate for up to one week.

Shirley Cline

 
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