Pasta e’ literally means “Pasta with/and” it is generally the combination of short pasta with beans, or other combinations such as pasta e Ceci (with chick peas) or pasta e patate (with potatoes), pasta e lenticchie (with lentils) these are fundamental dishes that define Italian Style family cooking; most Italian households have there own interpretation of a Pasta e fagioli (beans) recipe, which differ due to regional, local and family influences and/or preferences; Paste e’ can be prepared Semi dry or a soup like consistency; depending on your preference.
Recipe Serves 5;
250 grams short soup pasta
1 small onion
1 small carrot
1 stick of celery
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
2 cans of Lentils drained;
2 bay leaves
1.5-2 liters of vegetable or chicken stock (use stock cubes if you do not have fresh) depends on how dry or wet you would like it?
50 grams of chopped Pancetta or add a piece of cured pork such as ham hock or speck or even a whole pork sausage for added flavour;
roughly dice the onion; carrot and celery
finely slice the garlic;
drain the cans of lentils into a colander and rinse;
if you don’t have any short pasta in your pantry; you could simple break up some spaghetti or bucatini (see picture) instead;
using a casserole pot or stock pot;
add the olive oil over medium heat;
add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery (opt: Pancetta) fry ingredients until softened; do not brown or burn the garlic!
add the lentils and fry for a few more minutes to coat the lentils with olive oil ;
add the stock, and then bring to boil;
add the pasta and stir a few times to prevent it sticking to the bottom;
cook for the pasta for at least the time recommended on the pasta packet; or longer if you prefer;
Serve with a ladle into soup bowls, top with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan; and some very crusty bread; and of course dependent on time of day; a glass of your favorite wine;