Why? Minimal ingredients. Minimal meat. Lots of vegies. Maximum taste. Even better the next day. Freezable. One pot wonder. Make loads in a vat! Or make in a slow cooker.
Here it is…
Pasta with Borlotti Beans· 200g (1 cup) dried borlotti beans (or substitute 1 x 400g can borlotti beans/ or 4-bean mix/ chickpeas etc.) · small slosh of olive oil · 100g pancetta, diced · 1 celery stalk, chopped (can use more) · 1 onion, finely chopped · 1 carrot, diced · 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed · black pepper · 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (or more) · 1 bay leaf · 400g tin chopped tomatoes, drained (or use fresh) · 1.5 litres (6 cups) vegie stock · 150g macaroni, or any other smallish pasta, eg. shells · grated Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino cheese
If using dried beans, place in a large pot, cover with cold water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse under cold water. If using canned beans, put them in a colander and rinse.
Heat olive oil in large pot, add pancetta, celery, onion, carrot and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes until golden. Season with black pepper. Add parsley, bay leaf, tomatoes, stock and beans, bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer until beans are tender (1-1.5 hours if using dried beans), adding a little boiling water every so often to maintain the level.
Add pasta and simmer for about 6 minutes (until pasta is just al dente.) Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Serve warm with cheese.
Adapted from The Food of Italy, a journey for food lovers, Murdoch Books, 2005