This is one of the all time favorite Italian zuppa. Pasta fagioli is delicious, hearty and full of flavor!
Depending on the family or chef, pasta fagioli can have sentimental memories of poor economic times attached to it or elegant dining memories can fond memories of the recipe. The ingredients in a pasta fagioli recipe reflect upon the origins of the family recipe.
I learned this refined pasta fagioli recipe version while apprenticing in a New York Italian restaurant. The chef was from Modena Italy and he learned his skills in Venice Italy. Those are two great Italian cooking regions. The chef was a Ferrari mechanic in the day time too. The owner of the restaurant was an award winning Italian saute chef from Sicily. Now thats Italian!
Pasta fagioli is always cooked to order. By the way, fagioli is pronounced as "FAH-Zooo". The chef died laughing when I pronounced fagioli the first time as "FAGGY-O-LEE!" I was still very green in those days.
Pasta Fagioli Recipe:
This recipe makes one large bowl of zuppa! This style of pasta fagioli is always cooked to order and it is never prepared ahead of time.
Cook 1 small portion of fettuccine in boiling water, till it becomes al dente.
Cool the pasta under cold running water.
Drain the water off of the pasta.
Set the pasta aside.
Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Add 2 ounces of small pancetta strips.
When the pancetta starts to lightly brown, add 2 cloves of chopped garlic.
Add 1/4 cup of chopped onion.
Saute till the onions turn clear in color.
Add 2 large escarole leaves that are sliced into wide ribbons.
Add thin ribbon slices of prosciutto. (About 1 or 2 paper thin slices of prosciutto that are cut into thin ribbons is enough.)
Saute the ingredients till the escarole wilts.
Add 1 1/2 ounces of Imported canned Italian crushed plum tomato.
Add 8 to 10 Italian parsley leaves.
Add 2 thin sliced fresh sage leaves.
Add 1 pinch of oregano.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 small pinch of crushed red pepper.
Add 1 pinch of basil.
Add 3 cups chicken broth.
Add 1 cup of rinsed cooked cannellini beans or rinsed canned cannellini beans. (Cannellini are white kidney beans.)
Simmer and reduce the soup, till the broth develops a full flavor and the soup reduces to about 2 1/2 cups in volume.
Add the reserved small portion of al dente cooked fettuccine pasta.
Immediately ladle the soup into a shallow soup bowl, while the pasta is still al dente.
Try to expose some of each of the ingredients on the surface of the soup.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese and Italian bread on the side.
This by far is the best pasta fagioli recipe that I ever learned. The flavors are supreme! The soup is actually very light and full of Italian Parma Ham and pancetta flavor. Escarole adds a very light buttery cabbage flavor. The soup should be brothy, yet full of ingredients that feature the light flavored cannellini beans. Pasta fagioli is a great afternoon soup! Ciao Baby! ... Shawna