Dinner Tonight: Pasta E Fagioli + a Negroni

You might be thinking, "that is not dinner." Most of you are probably thinking that. Or you're thinking, where are the greens? Where's the substance? The stuff? Well, hear us out. It's Christmas, which means that you're probably a little tired, and you're rationing out your energy. So what you need, really, is a strong drink and a bowl of Pasta e Fagioli. Never had it before? Pasta e Fagioli is like SpagettiO's 10 years later, after a semester in Italy. It's comforting and simple and requires minimal focus while you're making it, which is really just our way of saying that you should make the Negroni first.

Pasta e Fagioli

Serves 8

Beans

  • 3 cups dried white beans (canellini or great northern)
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Soup

  • 8 strips of bacon, diced (can omit and use 2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil)
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 small onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon corse salt
  • 1 pinch chili flake
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 28 ounces whole canned San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 parmigiano rind (optional)
  • chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 2-3 cups dried macaroni, like tubetti or ditalini
  • fresh basil for garnish
  1. Place bean ingredients in a pot and cover by 2 inches with water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiled remove from heat and let sit for an hour. Remove sage and garlic, and reserve beans in their cooking liquid.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium low heat. Add in diced bacon and cook slowly to render out the fat until the bacon gets crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel line plate and reserve. Drain off all but 2 Tbsps of bacon fat. If using just olive oil, omit this step.
  3. Raise the heat to medium and add in the diced celery, carrots and and onions. Saute until the vegetables soften and begin to caramelize, about 7-10 minutes. Add in the garlic, salt, pepper and chili flake, stir to combine and saute for another minute. Add in the tomato paste and saute until fragrant.
  4. Deglaze with the white wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Add in the herbs, beans, parmigiano rind (if using) and tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you add them. Add in stock or water until everything is covered.
  5. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stirring occasionally. Cover pot and let cook for 30-45 minutes, giving it a stir and checking the beans for tenderness every 15 minutes or so.
  6. Once the beans are cooked, ladle about half of the soup into your blender or food processor and pulse it until all of the beans and veggies are broken down. Add back to the soup along with the bacon and stir to combine.
  7. Cook 1/3 cup of pasta for each serving. Stir the cooked pasta into each bowl as you serve.

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The Negroni

The Grocery List

Serves 2

2 slices bacon, chopped
1 small stalk celery
1 can cannelini beans
1 can whole tomatoes
1/2 cup dittalini pasta
1 tablespoons fresh parsley
Grated parmesan
1 ounce campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
Orange peel (for garnish)

We're assuming you have half an onion, 1 garlic clove, a can of chicken broth, gin, and some dried oregano. If not, add those to the shopping list, too.

The Plan

1. If you want to make your negroni first: Stir gin, Campari and vermouth in a shaker or mixing glass filled partway with ice. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

2. In a heavy saucepan cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring until crisp. Add onion and garlic, stirring until onion is soft and transparent. Add celery. Add broth and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

3. In a bowl mash 1/3 of the beans, then stir them into the onion mixture along with the remaining whole beans, tomatoes, and oregano. Simmer the soup, covered for 15 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Then remove from heat and let stand, still covered, for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in parsley and top with (lots of!) Parmesan. Dig in!

This article originally appeared on Food52.com: Dinner Tonight: Pasta e Fagioli + a Negrini