Pasta e Fagioli, meaning "pasta and beans", is a traditional Italian dish that is perfect to serve your family on cold winter's nights alongside a green salad and garlic toast.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced small
1 pound ground Italian sausage, mild, sweet or hot
1 pound ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced or shredded
1 Tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree or diced tomatoes including juice
4-5 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock
1 can northern white or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces tiny pasta (ditalini or acini de pepe)
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, optional
Freshly grated Parmesan and black pepper for garnish
Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and set aside.
In a large heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add sausage or ground beef and sauté until meat is thoroughly cooked. Drain grease in a colander and rinse with hot water.
Return to pot and stir in onion, garlic, celery, and carrots and cook for approximately 3 minutes. Add dried basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes and toss to coat. Stir in tomato puree or diced tomatoes and chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. If necessary add an additional cup of stock or water and stir in beans, pasta, and parsley, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot with grated parmesan cheese and a splash of olive oil.