The other day Marlo pulled out some leftovers his mom had given him, pasta e fagioli, pasta with beans. I snuck a bite (having eaten earlier) and it was so good, even cold! I couldn’t get it out of my mind so I decided to make my own last night. I had made a pasta e fagioli dish before, but it was a soup, with a lot of broth and chunks of tomato. That wasn’t the dish I had in mind.
I wanted pasta with tomato sauce and white beans. Simple. I thumbed through a few recipes, some with potato, some with ground beef, some with carrots and celery and finally found a nice simple version that seemed like it would be very close to what I’d tasted. I hadn’t gotten a chance to ask his mom how she made hers.
It was in a book that has a surprising number of excellent recipes in it. When I first picked it up at the used bookstore many years ago, I saw all the pictures of movie stars and other celebrities in it and almost put it back down but then I read through a few recipes and decided to spend a couple of bucks. I’m so glad I did! The book is Eat This…It Will Make You Feel Better (Amazon link) by Dom DeLuise. You can buy it on Amazon used for $6. There are lots of stories to go along with the excellent recipes. In addition the pasta e fagioli, I’ve made escarole soup, stracciatelle soup, spinach and potatoes in broth, Mamma’s meat sauce and many more. But I think this pasta e fagioli is my new favorite.
Dom’s Mamma’s Pasta e Fagioli
- 2 garlic cloves. minced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 8- oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 15- oz can cannellini beans, undrained
- 1/2 pound ditalini or elbow macaroni
- fresh parsley, chopped
- grated Parmesan cheese
- Put a pot of water on to boil and add some salt. When it comes to a boil, stir in the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook over medium low heat until golden.
- Add the beans and their liquid to the garlic and stir.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and water (add water to the can to get all the tomato sauce out!). Bring to a low simmer and cook about ten minutes.
- When the pasta is done, drain it and stir into the bean mixture. If it is thicker than you like, stir in a bit more water.
- Add the fresh parsley and serve with grated Parmesan cheese. You can also add some dried red pepper flakes.
Leftovers are good cold, as I first learned. Or you can reheat it over low with a little more water added.