With many of us turning to beans and pulses as cooking staples during these unprecedented times, Danilo Cortellini has shared with us his signature recipe for Pasta e Fagioli.
Translating to “Pasta and Beans”, this wonderfully-rustic dish is typical of the Italian countryside from Tuscany to Veneto and South of Italy. Its simplicity lies in the underlying combination of humble, inexpensive ingredients, manifesting in an intensely-rich soup which is full of flavour, warmth and much-needed comfort!
Preparation Time: 3 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients for 8 people:
- 250 gr dried “borlotti” beans (or any other beans you have readily available)
- 100 gr of Grana Padano crust (or the crust of any other hard/ semi-hard cheese that you have readily available)
- 125 gr celery thinly cut
- 125 gr onion thinly cut
- 150 gr of potatoes thinly cut
- 200 gr carrot thinly cut
- 1 Garlic clove chopped
- 150 gr tomato concentrate
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 small bunch of rosemary
- 1 red chilly chopped
- 1 small bunch of aromatic herbs (thyme, sage and bay laurel)
- 450 gr of Pasta (any pasta should work ; you can even whip out an old packet of spaghetti and break it up into little pieces)
Place the beans to soak in cold water overnight. Starting with cold clean water enough to cover them fully, bring the beans to boil slowly with the cheese crust, pinch of salt and pepper and a “buquet garnì” made of aromatic herbs. Keep it simmering for about 1 hour and half.
Meanwhile in a large casserole, “sweat” the onion with celery, potatoes and carrots, a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt.
Once the beans are well-cooked, take out the bouquet and cheese crust. Save some beans to use as garnish, and add the rest to the vegetables with all the water. Add the tomato concentrate, and let the soup simmer until the everything is soft and well-cooked.
Blend well and sieve it until smooth. Add the remaining beans, season with salt and pepper to taste and keep it aside warm.
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente; and drain straight away into the hot bean soup. If the “pasta and fagioli” is too thick, add some cooking water. Serve very hot, with a drizzle of extra vrgin olive oil, chopped rosemary and fresh chilly.
Born in Abruzzo, a small region of Italy that is rich in culinary tradition, Danilo Cortellini was always destined to become a chef. From there he travelled his way throughout Italy, working with in Michelin-starred restaurants such as San Domenico and Perbellini, before arriving in London in 2010. Danilo worked at three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse restaurants before becoming Head Chef at the Italian Embassy. In 2015 Danilo took part in MasterChef: The professionals and made it to the final.
Explore more of Danilo’s recipes as part of my Kitchen Inspiration Series, here.