Mum’s cooking is always the best. Just about every son or daughter will say the same thing. But my Mum’s cooking is really something else. She has the ability to toss a few things together and make an absolutely stunning dish that any restaurant would be proud to include on its menu. I’m not boasting, it’s the plain truth! This skill can be slightly annoying because mum, aka Gina, cooks with instinct and as such, doesn’t always remember exactly how she made a certain dish!
I had a hankering for ‘pasta e fagioli’ when I last saw my parents and asked mum (nicely) if she could cook it for me. There were some slight protests because she didn’t have the time to soak the beans overnight, which meant she would have to use canned beans which she said are not quite as good. I didn’t care about that. I just really felt like it.
So like a good Italian mamma, she made do with what she had and cooked a nourishing, heart-warming, absolutely delicious meal of ‘pasta e fagioli’ – which means pasta and beans. Italian peasant food at its best.
It is not quite the traditional Italian recipe, but when it tasted as good as it did, it hardly mattered. The pancetta gave it a smokey rich meatiness. The four can bean mix was not traditional, but the chick peas added a different texture and the kidney beans were thick and creamy. It wasn’t quite a soup consistency, more of a stew.
Recipe: Pasta e Fagioli
- 350g dried borlotti beans
- tbl spoon olive oil
- 1 onion,chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 300g pancetta (piece), chopped in cubes
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1 fresh chilli
- 1 small sprig rosemary
- small handful chopped basil and parsley
- 1 cup stock (beef, chicken or vegetable is okay. I prefer chicken).
- 150g dried small pasta (macaroni, fiselli, etc)
- Salt, Pepper
Soak borlotti beans overnight, drain. Fry chopped onion, garlic, fresh chilli, rosemary & chopped pancetta in a little olive oil. Add a couple of ripe chopped tomatoes. Cook these down and add beans, mash some of them, a little stock and chopped parsley and basil. Cook all until flavours are well blended. Meanwhile, cook the pasta following the packet instructions, but cook it for two minutes less so it is almost cooked. Lastly add almost cooked pasta and season. Cook further few mins and adjusted seasoning. Serve it hot or warm. Delizioso!
Good on you mum! Thank you xx
It was so good that the recipe was published in Italianicious magazine
p.s. Dad knows his way around the kitchen too and cooks the world’s best chilli crab and can shuck oysters like pro. That’s another post, for another time. x