Monday, March 7, 2011

Thursday: Cranberry Bean Pasta Fagioli

Pin It Now! More soup!  Yea!  I was intrigued by this dish in that I had never heard of cranberry beans...and I came to find, they are impossible to find.  (at least where I live) I could order them online, but I'm not that obsessed with cooking yet.  I was told by a chef that pinto beans are a fine substitute and would save me about $5.  Sold.  So, I'm following the recipe except for inserting pinto beans for cranberry.  (You could make this vegetarian by omitting the pancetta, but the reviews say it gives a wonderful flavor.)


  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 2-ounce piece pancetta (optional)
  • 5 canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds fresh cranberry beans in pods, shelled (or 1 cup dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 piece parmesan cheese rind, plus 1/2 cup grated parmesan, and more for topping
  • 2 cups small pasta, such as shells or ditalini
  • 1 bunch kale, stems and ribs discarded, leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper


Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, rosemary and pancetta, if using, and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 2 more minutes; season with salt. Add the beans, 3 quarts water, the bay leaves and parmesan rind. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Uncover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 more minutes. (The soup should be thick and creamy; thin with water, if necessary.)
Remove the bay leaves, parmesan rind and pancetta, if used. Add the grated parmesan, parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Top with more olive oil and parmesan.


Click and Cook said...

Okay, so I have another Pasta Fagioli dish that is wicked good; however, this is very good too. Different though. My sauce never got idea what I did wrong, followed the recipe to the T...but yeah, runny soup. Added a bit of whipping cream...nice mix, but not much difference. The flavor was awesome though. I splurged and bought Cento tomatoes (the expensive canned ones)...but man, wow were they good!!!!! Added a bit extra there, used pre-diced pancetta and never took it out and used a bit less kale. Girls devoured them for that. I really enjoyed it. Again, if your kids are adverse to veggies, puree the mix then add the noodles, I promise they'll eat it! :)

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