Pasta e Fagioli~Pasta with Cannellini Beans

I love to cook Fagioli.  So much so that I keep them cooked, in their water in the freezer.  Preparation for Soup making takes place days in advance, sometimes weeks.  I try to cook the beans in advance so that they are always ready to go at any time and avoids a lengthy step when one is hungry and craving a wholesome soup. 

For the Beans:  4 cups rinsed dried /Cannellini Beans
a pinch of salt
A large pasta pot enough to acommodate the beans
Water to cover
Method:  Rinse your beans and place them in a bowl, set water to cover and add a pinch of salt overnight.
The next day, drain your beans, place them in a large pasta pot with a pinch of salt again, water to cover, and some fresh sage leaves. I always have some leaves frozen ready to drop in if they are not available fresh.   Bring to a slow simmer for 2-21/2 hours. Test your beans with a fork and be sure that they are soft.  If you need to boil longer, you may, just add some additional water to cover.   Remove from heat, cool, and place in 2 containers, reserving some of the water to cover  and freeze.
Special note about beans:  There are some good quality canned beans in your supermarket.  This above step can be avoided by using them out of a can. Please remember that fresh is always better.  However, when necessary, rinse beans thoroughly and bring to a quick boil in water, drain and set aside. 


Pasta con fagioli
2 cups fagioli (Cannellin beans)
1/2 pound round shaped pasta like Ditalini or Rotini, etc. (Anything that will hold your fagioli well)
This recipe serves 6 good size bowls
4-6 cups good quality chicken stock
2  tablespoons olive oil

1/4 pound diced pancetta
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup diced white onion
1/4 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5-6 sage leaves

Place your olive oil in a pan tall enough to accommodate your soup.
Heat your olive oil.   Add your pancetta and mix.  Cook until crisp.  Remove half of your pancetta from the pan and set aside. Add your garlic, onion and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add your carrot, celery and tomato paste.  Mix and add a pinch of salt.  Place your cover on your pan for one minute.  Remove cover from your pan and mix again.  Add your beans and mix.  Place your cover on your pan again for one minute.   Remove your cover and add your chicken stock.   Make sure your stock is sitting above your beans by a good 2 inches.  Let it boil, reduce some and add your pasta directly to the pan.   Cook following package directions minus one minute as your pasta will continue to cook while resting in your bowl.  Add some Parmigiano Reggiano, some additional sage leaves and parsley to garnish.  Serve a salad after your soup  with some good crusty bread.  Buon Appetito

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