Pasta and Beans

When I was a child one of the sure signs of autumn was having pasta “fazool” (my parents’ dialect for pasta e fagioli; pasta and beans) for dinner. I was the only one in the family who was not fond of the dish. I loved how it made the house smell and liked the pasta with tomato sauce, but I did not like the pasty mouth-feel of cannellini beans. Now I realize that you just need to change the kind of bean you use. Some make it with red kidney beans, but I prefer chickpeas. There are many variations on the dish: you can make it with pancetta, prosciutto, Italian sausage, lots of tomato, or very little tomato. Some like it very soupy and thin, others quite thick with tomato chunks. My own version with chickpeas is somewhat soupy but thickens as it sits. I also like it with some greens added for color and flavor. I added some tender young chard from my CSA, La Nay Ferme, and the last of my garden zucchini to enhance the dish. It is a wonderful autumn lunch or dinner.

Pasta and Beans
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely dice
1/2 rib celery, finely diced
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce (I used organic Muir Glen brand)
2 tomato sauce cans of water
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1-1/4 c. chopped fresh Swiss chard
1/2 c. diced zucchini
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, divided
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
a generous pinch of Aleppo pepper
2 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 lb. ziti or small pasta

Begin by filling a 6-quart pot full of water and bring to a boil on high heat. Cook pasta until al dente and set aside. In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil on medium heat. When oil is hot add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add onions, carrot, and celery. Add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and a grind of fresh pepper and sauté for 5 minutes to soften. Add tomato sauce, 2 tomato sauce cans full of water. Stir and heat for 2 minutes, then add chickpeas, chard, zucchini, herbs, and spices. Taste and add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until chard and zucchini are fork tender but not mushy. Add cooked pasta. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until pasta is coated with sauce. Pour pasta into serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Serve cheese on the side if desired. Serves 4-6 people.

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This entry was posted in Dairy-free, Pasta, Soups, Vegetables, Vegetarian. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Pasta and Beans

  1. Danielle says:

    Garbonzos are my most favorite bean. I love pasta fagioli, but rarely make it. Brian for years was so turned off by any beans; luckily for me he has out grown it in the last five years. When I make your recipe I will let you know. Brought me back to NJ looking at your fish. Yum!

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