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Mains, Soups, Vegetarian

Minestra di fagioli e maltagliate (bean soup with pasta)

Minestra di fagioli e maltagliate (bean soup with pasta)
Los Angeles Times

IT'S a place where women still make glorious egg-yolk-rich tagliatelle, put up jars of peppers and peaches, and, in some villages, bake bread in the communal bread oven. Piedmont, the fabled wine region of northwest Italy, has its special dishes ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours, 10 minutes, plus overnight soaking | Serves 8
  • 2 cups dried borlotti (cranberry) beans
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 tomato, peeled and diced
  • 8 sprigs parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 8 to 10 basil leaves, torn
  • Half a dried hot red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 pound fresh egg tagliatelle pasta or dried egg pasta, cut or broken into 2-inch lengths
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Step 1The night before, soak the beans in 12 cups of cold water. The next day, drain the beans and reserve the soaking water.

Step 2In a large, heavy pot, saute the carrot, celery, garlic, onion and potatoes in the olive oil until the onions are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the beans and 8 cups of the reserved water. Stir in the tomato, parsley, basil, dried red pepper and a big pinch of salt, about 1 teaspoon or to taste.

Step 3Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook gently until the beans are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove a cup or so of the beans and puree or smash, then add back into the soup. Thin the soup with a little water, if necessary. Taste for salt.

Step 4Cook the pasta in abundant salted boiling water (less than a minute for fresh pasta; 8 to 10 minutes for dried).

Step 5Reheat the soup and stir in the cooked pasta. Serve in wide soup bowls. Pass a cruet of olive oil, the pepper grinder and a little freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Note: From Clara Rivetti. If not using fresh pasta, use a good-quality dried pasta such as Rustichella D'Abruzzo. You can substitute the tomato with 2 canned, imported Italian plum tomatoes.


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