Saturday, December 4, 2010
MAKE IT SIMPLE PASTA E FAGIOLI FOR I HEART COOKING CLUBS
Soup appears in The Food of Love kitchen on a regular basis during the winter months. It is a filling, [mostly] healthy dinner option, and, during these hectic "I have absolutely no time" weeks leading up to the holiday, a simple way to put nutritious food on the table in the shortest possible time. Though I confess that holiday madness is greatly reduced (one perk of growing older), the impending holiday along with my part time job, volunteer work, and quilting pursuits does mimic old times when many more faces appeared around the holiday table and holiday baking began the day after Thanksgiving.
Pasta e fagioli (pasta fazool for those in the know) is a favorite winter soup. There are many versions of this dish. I favor the "non red" versions. I dislike any tomato whatsoever in my bowl of pasta e fagioli. Forgive me, mom, but the family version has never been a favorite. In a nod to another family favorite (NOT mine), pasta e pisselli, mom would put peas and tomatoes in her version. Peas are second only to the dreaded Z on the list of vegetables that do not pass my lips.
I decided to give Giada's version of pasta e fagioli a try. The biggest difference in her version was her use of red kidney beans; I always use the white (cannellini). Giada's recipe from Food TV is here. My only changes were the use of ditalini pasta instead of elbows, the substitution of prosciutto for pancetta, and the addition of a coarsely chopped carrot for sweetness. I'll add more carrot next time.
From start to finish, this hearty soup meal was on the table in under 30 minutes. In fact, I made it in the morning, the better to have the whole day to finish up my student evaluations, visit with my sweet great-niece Isabelle, and get to PT on time. Larry and I both enjoyed this version and agreed it was a nice change from the not-so-photogenic cannellini version. The 3 ounces of pancetta wouldn't have added much fat, but I enjoyed the more delicate flavor of the prosciutto. Also, 3 ounces won't break the bank, but it's a nice little luxury. BTW, it's even better the next day--especially with some freshly baked ciabatta. Please hurry over to I Heart Cooking Clubs to see what other delicious time savers will save you from holiday madness.