From Lecce with Love!

Dean Martin calls ‘Pasta fasoul’ this southern Italian staple in That’s Amore ; but the hearty, frugal dish it is more commonly known as Pasta e Fagioli. There are various combinations of pasta and beans all around the Mediterranean, but this one is by far the best!

photo by Anastasios Mentis

Of all the different varieties of pasta, I found that orecchietti (“little ears”) –which are the traditional pasta ofPuglia, in Southern Italy—or shell-shaped pasta are best suited for to compliment the faggioli. Somehow, a bean seems to rest inside the curve of each piece of pasta. In Puglia the dish is made with fresh homemade pas orecchietti.

The recipe is my own adaptation of the dish I ate at Tratoria Cucina Casareccia, in Lecce. Frying a handful of pasta adds another dimension to the dish. But even if you omit that step, you will love the spicy Pasta e Faggioli. If you can’t get pancetta coated with red pepper flakes or diavoletti, the hot sausages of Calabria, use good quality spicy chorizo. You can also make a vegetarian version adding Spanish pimenton, the sweet-smoky paprika that will enliven the sweet, heart-warming dish.

See the Recipe: Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta with Beans)


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