Here's what you'll need for a medium saucepot:
- extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 large stalks celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2-3 cups of canned Italian tomatoes in puree
- fresh parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary
- 1 1/2 cups of dried cannelli beans, soaked overnight and cooked in lots of water OR
- 3 15-ounce cans of cannelli beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup of uncooked ditalini pasta
- end piece of hard grating cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pour enough olive oil into the bottom of your saucepan to almost cover.
- Saute the garlic and onion until it starts to sweat; then add the celery and carrots.
- Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and continue to cook until the vegetables are near tender.
- Add the fresh herbs (a small handful of chopped parsley; a few leaves of basil; a few sprigs of oregano; a sprig of fresh rosemary)
- Add the tomatoes (either chop them or squish them through your hands); raise the heat a bit and let simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the end piece of cheese; continue simmering the vegetable/sauce mixture for another 10 minutes or so.
- Add the beans; mix well; turn down the heat.
Now take a look at the pot and see how much liquid is there. If you used dried beans and cooked them in a lot of water, save the cooking liquid and add that to the pot (about 4-6 six cups of liquid depending on your pot). If you used canned beans, then you can add a couple cups of vegetable broth and a couple cups of water.
You can puree a couple cups of the bean/vegetable mixture at this point and return to the pot. It helps thicken the mix; make sure you don't scoop up the piece of cheese in the process.
Let simmer and then raise the heat before adding the 1/2 cup of ditalini.
I like to use ditalini because when it all melds together, the beans often find themselves nestled inside the little "tubes." You can use any type of small pasta, such as shells or those mini bow ties used for soups, but ditialini really fits the bill and, besides, that's what Mom used!
Let the "fazool" simmer until the pasta is cooked.
When you first serve it, it will be a bit soupy. But when stored overnight in the fridge, the pasta swells up and you might have to add a little more water when reheating.
Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each bowl, season with salt and pepper, if it needs it, sprinkle some crushed red pepper on top and a grating of parmesan.