Pasta fagioli is a classic pasta dish/soup that most Americans are familiar with. My grandmas both made this, and my mom makes it–as now I make it. We always called it bast fazool in Neapolitan dialect. (Ps are pronounced like bs and last vowels are left off. Another familiar example is the word abeetz for pizza.) My mom said that it’s traditionally eaten with Italian bread, and she said her family never used butter or olive oil and would eat Italian bread plain (or dip it in the sauce).
This was a favorite Friday dinner during Lent. Of course, it’s good any time, especially on cold nights. Top it off with some grated cheese.
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans
3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces ditali pasta
grated romano cheese (We use Locatelli.)
Bring a pot of water to a boil with 1 teaspoon salt for the ditali. Follow directions on the box to cook the pasta al dente. Meanwhile, in another pot, combine the 2 cans of beans, including the liquid, plus 3 cups of water. Add olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir together and bring to a boil over medium heat. When it begins to boil, reduce the heat to simmer and continue to simmer until the pasta in the other pot is cooked and drained. Add the pasta to the soup mixture. It should be soupy, but if it’s not, add some pasta water. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese.