Monday, February 27, 2012

Mmmm... Dinner tonight!

Julia invited a bunch of friends (John and me included) over for dinner tonight, and then sent me the recipe for the dish she's planning to make. Apparently it is a new spin on the classic "Pasta Fagoli", called "Pasta Fazool" by the fella who invented it. It looked so delicious, I couldn't contain myself, and had to post it on the blog... Just look at those pictures! Yow-zah! 

Since I'm not going to be cooking this dish, I will only be able to report on how it tastes, and not how easy it was to cook, but I've got high hopes for this one!      

        PASTA FAZOOL: 
3″ block of leftover meatloaf, 1/2 lbs Italian sausage, or 4 strips of bacon (optional)
for soffritto
2 medium onions chopped
3 medium stalks celery chopped
2 medium carrots chopped
6 cloves garlic minced
for soup
1/4 C vermouth
1 qt chicken or vegetable stock
2 C chopped tomatoes
3/4 C borlotti beans (cranberry) soaked overnight
Parmesan rind
1/4 C chopped fresh basil
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz dried pasta (I used orecchiette)
Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

If you are using uncooked meat such as pancetta or Italian sausage, brown them first, transfer to a plate, then use the fat they release to make the soffritto.
If you are use precooked meat or are making this vegetarian, add a generous splash of olive oil to a stock pot (about 2 Tbs).
Fry the ingredients for the soffritto until soft and about halved in volume. This process deepens the flavour of the soffritto (aka mirepoix) through a Maillard reaction, which causes sugars in the veggies to react with amino acids to form new flavour compounds.
Add the vermouth to the soffritto and cook until there is no liquid left. Add the chicken stock, chopped tomatoes, beans, Parmesan rind, basil, bay leaf and thyme. Allow this to simmer uncovered until the beans are tender (about 1 1/2 hours). If the soup start getting too thick, add a bit of water and continue cooking with a lid.
When the beans are tender, taste for salt and add more if needed. Add the pasta and cook until tender, you may need to add a bit more water if the pasta absorbs too much. Serve with bread and a generous dusting of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
I'll report back tomorrow! 
While you're there, you should consider scrolling around the website "" to see what else he's cooking... There is a recipe for Pork Sugo with Strozzapreti that looks like it would blow your socks off. And the recipe for Five Spice Duck Confit Ragu looks Ka-Ka-Crazy! So much to cook, so little extra space in my waistline! : ) 

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