One of the girls who was visiting with my son commented, "It's good, we call it goulash at my house"... Well, maybe to an American girl it's goulash, but there's no paprika in this!
Pasta Fagioli, macaroni and beans, was know as the "Friday meal" when I was a kid. We were Roman Catholic, which meant no meat in our kitchen on Friday. My husband and I have had many laughs about growing up with the Friday meals! Fish sticks and beets at his house. My mother served all kinds of meatless pasta. The family favorite was Pasta Fagioli!
Pasta Fagioli, pronounced "pasta fa´zool" (at least that's the way it is said if your from the Philly area) is a delicious, hearty soup and easy to prepare.
1/2 c diced onion
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 small carrot sliced (and halved if carrot is thick)
2 tsp dried basil or 4-5 fresh leaves
1 sm can tomato paste
1 16oz can vegetarian baked beans
1 lb small pasta shells or ditalini
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Saute´ onion in olive oil in a large skillet at low heat until onion is clear. Add garlic, cook until soft, not allowing garlic to brown. Add tomato paste, basil, and 1 can of water to pan. Stir to mix. Add more water in small amounts if sauce is too thick. (Sauce should be thicker than gravy but not a paste) Cover and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring about every 10-15 minutes. If sauce becomes too thick add a little water. After about 45 min. add carrots and beans, stir, return cover and continue to cook until carrots are tender.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to package, drain and rinse with cold water. (pasta should be cooked al dente) When tomato sauce is almost ready, return pasta to original pot and barely cover with cold water. Add tomato mixture, stir in grated cheese and cook to heat thoroughly. Serve with fresh Italian bread.
Things I've added:
1 lb ground beef (that's where the goulash came into play - ha ha ha)
Cannelloni beans - I have used these instead of red beans. Some people say white beans standard however I prefer the red beans.
This is the quick and easy American version. My grandmother, born in Northern Italy, cooked the beans from scratch, made her own macaroni, and then made the Pasta Fagioli.
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