This is another one of those fabulous Italian recipes that Randy grew up with. Throughout the years he’s tweaked some of the ingredients and spices thereby perfecting this dish with the freshest of ingredients. You will need to start this dish the night before by soaking your beans in 4 times the water overnight. The next day give yourself a few hours to simmer the beans until soft, before you start the rest of the dish.
If you are intimidated by doing your beans from scratch or don’t have the time for soaking and cooking, you could always go and get 4 or 5 cans of Great Northern beans, which is totally fine, but the effort into starting your beans from scratch makes a huge difference in the freshness.
Randy’s Pasta Fagioli
1 Pound Great Northern Beans –soaked in water overnight
1 Pound Penne Pasta, cooked to al dente
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 Onion, diced
6 stalks Celery -hearts of celery with leaves included is best for optimum flavor
6 Carrots, thinly sliced
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
2 Tablespoons Susie’s White Spice Rub
Salt and Pepper
6 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
¼ Cup Flour
½ Cup White Wine
2 Bunches Swiss Chard, Cleaned, de-stemmed, and roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 Quart Vegetable Broth
Parmesan Cheese for Garnish
Let’s start with the beans. Place them in a large pot and fill with 4 times the amount of water and allow to soak overnight. The beans will grow to about 3-4 times in size. Drain and rinse the beans, place back in the pot and fill up to 3 inches above the bean line with water. –Just water, nothing else and let simmer for about 3-4 hours or until the beans are soft. –You should be able to easily squeeze them between your fingers. Once they are soft enough, add 1-2 tablespoons of salt. Stir and taste and add more salt if necessary. Set aside the beans but do not drain. The broth in the beans is used for the dish.
Now start your pasta water. Add salt and olive oil to the water and bring to a boil. When you’re about 10 minutes away from serving your dish, add your pasta and cook according to package directions to al dente. When combining all the ingredients, the pasta will cook a bit more.