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Pasta e fagioli Venetian style (including recipe)

This is the first in a series of posts on classic Veneto cuisine and classic pairings for Asolo Prosecco. The text and recipes below are my translations of the great recipe book La cucina veneziana by author and actor Giuseppe “Beppo” Maffioli, who was born in Padua (Padova) but raised in the province of Treviso (not far from Asolo) where he studied and lived. I can’t think of a better — and more classic — pairing for Bele Casel wines.

Above: Pasta e Fagioli at Ristorante alla Madonna in Venice, a favorite among Venetians and foreigners alike, family-friendly, inexpensive, and classic.

Bean Soup
(Sopa de fasioi
)

Use freshly shelled Borlotto Lamon beans for this dish. You can also use dried beans that have been soaked overnight with a pinch of bicarbonate. If you do not have time to soak the dried beans, you can simmer then in fresh water (some use one part water and one part milk) until they have cooked through. Make a soffritto using a generous amount of onion with chopped pancetta or just extra-virgin olive oil. Pass half of he beans through a sieve and then mix together with the remaining whole beans and add to the soffritto. Season with salt to taste. If a thicker consistency is desired, add a few potatoes to the beans that will be passed through the sieve. Once you have added the mashed beans, you can also stir a tablespoon of flour into a cup of stock and add it to the soup, allowing it to simmer for at least 10 minutes. Mix all the while, making sure that the soup does not acquire a burnt taste. Serve hot or warm, each bowl sprinkled with pepper and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil. Parmigiano Reggiano is not sanctioned for this dish but many like to add it nonetheless. A sprinkle of chopped flatleaf parsley and garlic is a nice touch.

For other bean soups to which pork, bones, other meats, sausage, pork rind or tails have been added, simmer the meat with the beans first and then proceed as above. Otherwise, the meat can be cooked halfway previously and then the beans are added. This dish needs to be cooked very slowly, at a barely perceptible simmer.

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)
Pasta e fasioi

Add small amounts of pasta to a rather liquid soup: tirache [long noodles similar to tagliatelle but thicker), whole wheat bigoli [long hand-rolled noodles], subiotini [short tube macaroni], tagliadele (tagliatelle), or even menuelei ["little finger" short noodles]. Serve hot or tepid.

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