Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta with beans or Pasta e Fagioli:  a classic Italian recipe.  Also, a pleasing and delicious meal wherever you happen to live.  I learned to make Pasta e Fagioli, of all places, at a cooking school in the South Texas Hill Country.  Here in the capital of the country's best brisket, barbequed ribs and breakfast burritos I found this simple, vegetarian dish a nice balance to the heavier, spicier and meatier cuisine we were indulging in frequently.  It is a quick dish to make after a long day.  The ingredients can be pulled off the shelf:   Two cans of diced tomatoes, two cans of beans, an onion and some dried herbs and pasta.  Any sort of pasta will do.  Any variety of red and white beans will do.  Use what you have.  Use what you like.  The beans and tomato sauce simmer as you boil the water and cook the pasta.   Serve the hot tomatoes and beans over the pasta.  Add a sprinkling of good Parmesan cheese and minced fresh parsley and enjoy.  Pasta e Fagioli is simple and delicious.  No wonder it is an Italian Classic.

pasta e fagioli

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed with a fork
2 - 14.5oz. cans diced tomatoes and juices
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 - 15oz. can red beans (kidney, black or pinto), drained and rinsed
1 - 15oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup water, as needed
1 lb. pasta, any variety
1/3 cup minced parsley
Parmesan cheese. grated or shredded

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.  Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and dried herbs.  Simmer until the sauce is thick and hot, 5 - 8 minutes.   Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Add the drained beans and enough water to thin to desired consistency.  Simmer over low as the pasta cooks.

Cook the pasta to al dente, tender yet firm to the tooth; drain.  Serve a generous amount hot beans and tomatoes over the pasta.  Sprinkle with minced parsley and Parmesan cheese.