Pasta e Fagoli by Giovanna Eusebi of Eusebi Deli in Glasgow

If ever there was a season that was made for the Southern Style ‘Cucina Povera’ it’s winter, and Pasta e Fagioli fits the brief perfectly. I have fond memories of my Nonna in Italy, cooking outdoors in the cold Italian winter months, using all the branches she had cut from the trees in the field – ever resourceful!

She would cook this hearty soup on the embers. I adapted the dish slightly with the addition of a bread crust, which is great for soaking up the juices. It’s my favourite one pot dish, both easy and inexpensive to make.

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http://eusebideli.com

Ingredients: Serves 4
50ml olive oil 
100g pancetta, diced
1 white onion, medium diced
2 carrots, medium diced
2 sticks celery, medium diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
250ml white wine
200g dried borlotti beans, soaked over night, cooked next day until tender 
1 tin canned tomatoes 
2 bay leaves
500ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
200g dried pasta, macaroni or ditalini 
Parmesan rind

Dough  
1 packet of dry yeast 
15g sugar 
230ml warm water
340g strong flour
30ml extra virgin olive oil
15g salt

Method
1.    First, make the dough by incorporating all ingredients into a mixer with a dough hook and mix until a smooth dough has formed. Cover with cling film and leave to double in size at room temperature.
2.    To make the soup, preheat the oven to 200C. Sweat down the onions, carrot, celery and garlic in the olive oil. Add the rosemary and pancetta and cook off for a further five minutes until the pancetta renders its fat.
3.    Add the white wine and reduce until nearly evaporated, then add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves, borlotti beans, pasta and Parmesan rind. Simmer for around 30 minutes and season.
4.    Once the soup has been made, transfer into individual terracotta dishes along with a sprig of rosemary per bowl. Grab around 100g of dough and stretch out by hand to cover the whole of the terracotta dish. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and place in the oven at 200C, until the dough has cooked and coloured slightly. Serve immediately.

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