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Tuscan Fusion Pasta Faggioli

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon bacon grease (optional)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces boneless ham, cut into small dice
1-2 fresh chills–to taste–minced or dried chili peppers from the October Share
black pepper to taste
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine, sherry or marsala
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 pound shelled fresh horticultural/French horticultural/cranberry beans
1/2 pound fresh plum tomatoes, chopped  using tomatoes from the share
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 pound pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, bring olive oil and bacon grease, to heat on medium. When bacon fat is melted, add onion and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring, until onion is dark golden colored and smells sweet. Add ham, chilies, pepper, garlic, sage, and rosemary, and continue cooking, stirring, until the ham browns slightly, the garlic is golden and the onions are brown.
Add wine, and stir to deglaze pan, and allow alcohol to cook off.

Add whichever broth you are using, and the beans. Allow beans to come to a simmer, turn heat down, and partially cover pot. Cook until beans are just softened, and the skins are starting to crack–about an hour. Remove lid, turn heat up to high and carefully allow broth to cook down until it is barely covering beans. Add tomatoes.  Using an immersion blender, puree about 1/4 of the beans, to make a thick gravy. Allow tomatoes to soften and begin to break down. Stir in half the basil.  Dump drained pasta into bean pot and toss to combine. Put into heated bowls to serve, and top with a sprinkling of cheese and some more basil.






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