There is perhaps no more winter-friendly dish than a proper minestra di pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans). Whether you’re at the toe of Italy’s boot or hanging out at the upper thigh, you will undoubtedly find a variation of this dish. Perhaps it is because the ingredients are easily available everywhere throughout the country or possibly because in times of scarcity, it was an economical way to feed a farmer’s family a calorie-rich ‘piatto unico’, meaning a single dish; one that leaves no room for antipasti or main courses. All versions are special and this is ours.
Tips: With a minestra, it is best to have the beans ready a few hours or even the day before you finish the pasta dish. Although this recipe contains pork, you could easily remove it for a great vegetarian dish. Also, feel free to substitute the recommended pork products for any cut of pork that you have lying around. All that is important is that it cooks out until tender and gives all of its delicious flavours to the beans.
Pasta e Fasò 12 Steps
Soak your white beans in plenty of water overnight. At least enough to allow the beans to double.
Heat olive oil or lard in a large pot and add all minced vegetable.
Sweat until barely tender and add drained beans.
Cover with water (could use broth if you have it available but we like to use water) to 2 inches above beans and add pig snout (if can’t find pig snout you can substitute with thick cut pork belly -- skin on).
Add rosemary and salt to taste.
You can add crushed tomato now if you so wish.
Simmer gently for approximately 2 hours or until beans are tender and popping. Watch that the beans don't get too dry. Don’t be shy to add water as they are cooking. They should always resemble a thick soup or loose stew.
Pork should also be tender and the skin soft and gelatinous.
Remove the snout, dice it and return it to the beans being careful to remove any bone or hard cartilage.
Separately boil a pot of water seasoned properly for pasta. Not too salty! Should taste like a soup.
Cook your pasta until al dente and drain.
Add pasta to beans with the parsley. Stir and serve. You can also finish with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano.