Meaning simply “pasta and beans”, pasta e fagioli is a traditional Italian dish that is meant to be soft and enjoyed almost soupy, with a crusty fresh bread to soak up the sauce.
- 8 ounces medium pasta shells or other cup-shaped or short pasta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling on finished pasta
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup MM Local Front Range Tomatoes w/ Rosemary (about 1/2 a jar)
- Sprig of rosemary, needles finely chopped (use sprig that comes in your jar of MM Local tomatoes)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, or 3+1/3 cups cooked beans, 1/2 cup of their liquid reserved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
HOW TO COOK:
Fill a pot with salted water, cover, and bring to a boil. When the water reaches a boil, add the pasta and cook, stirring often, until it is a few minutes past al dente, soft but not mushy. Drain, reserving about 2 cups of the cooking water.
While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a saute pan over low heat. Add the garlic, rosemary, and the red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is just golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and simmer gently for about 5 minutes.
Add the drained beans and their reserved liquid and some salt and pepper to the pan, then bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally and crushing about half of the beans with the back of a wooden spoon.
Return the drained pasta to the large pot and add the beans and enough of the reserved pasta water to make the dish nice and soupy. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Finish each plate with sprinkled parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.