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Pasta e fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli Pasta e fagioli is a typical Italian dish, simple and poor, which has its origins in the countryside tradition, and of which there are several regional variations. Indeed there is no official recipe for pasta and beans, but a recipe for almost every area. Maybe it's the most "national" dish of Italy, present in all regions, from the Alps to the Mediterranean.

The beans

At the basis of pasta and beans there is the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), which arrived in Europe from the Americas in the 1530s along with other crops such as tomatoes and peppers.

The other ingredients can typically include pasta, garlic, onion, broth, lard, olive oil, celery, and, depending on the recipe, sage, thyme, parsley, marjoram, pepper, tomato, ham or bacon. In the past it was a typical winter soup, healthy, economical and complete, used as a main dish and replacing the meat as a source of a significant amount of protein.

The benefits of eating pasta and beans consist, in addition to the good taste, also of the sense of filling given by the fibers and poverty of fats. Legumes have always been known as "the poor man's meat" and in fact in the past centuries have fed entire populations.

Legumes joined to cereals have little effect on blood sugar after a meal, having a low glycemic index, so a good dish of pasta and beans can be recommended to everyone.

Variations

The types of beans used are different according to the region and the season, as well as the types of pasta and seasonings used.

In Veneto it was often enriched with some pork bone or meat, salted and sometimes smoked. The addition of potatoes, in the tradition linked to the need to save beans, gave a good creaminess, while the celery gives it a stronger taste.

Pasta and beans will keep well in the fridge for at least 3 days, and in Naples it is very popular to eat it "arrepusata", that is, passed in a pan the next day.

Secrets

Fagioli Borlotti The flavor of fresh beans is definitely different from the dried beans we eat in the winter, since fresh legumes do not need soaking and cook in a shorter time.

The "pasta e fagioli" must not be too dry, or too "soupy", and the pasta should be cooked along with the beans, thus retaining all the starch that gives a thick, creamy sauce.

As an alternative to lard, chicken or vegetable broth can be used, the "soffritto" with chopped herbs may be tinged with white wine, at the end chopped fresh rosemary and a sprinkling of pecorino may be added.

The favorite pasta in many Italian versions is the "ditali", but it is also a dish good for recycling, using all the leftovers of pasta (but with approximately same cooking time), coarsely chopped pasta, or, if you want a really divine dish, hand-made pasta without eggs.

For a faster cooking, a pressure pot may be used, or good-quality canned beans (but it will never be the same as slow cooking!)

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