Pasta e Fagioli con Mista
This dish started out as a peasant's meal due to its simple ingredients, but it's become a succulent staple at Italian restaurants. The recipe is courtesy of Cesare Casella, executive chef at Salumeria Rosi in New York City.
For the Beans
- 2/3 cup dried Scritti Grossi beans or cranberry beans
- 3 1/4 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 2 3/4 tablespoons chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped carrot
- 1 (1/4-pound) piece of prosciutto
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 1 sprig fresh parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 cup peeled, chopped potato
- Coarse salt
For the Soup
- 1/3 cup chopped proscuitto
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped carrot
- 2 tablespoons chopped leeks
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup butternut squash
- 6 cups chicken stock or water
- 2/3 cup assorted dried pasta, such as fusili, strozzapreti, rigatoni, lumache, or spaghetti
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for serving
- Coarse salt, for seasoning
- Coarse black pepper, for seasoning
Make the beans: Place beans in a large pot; add enough water to cover. Let stand at room temperature overnight.
Drain beans and rinse; transfer to a large pot. Place onion, celery, carrot, proscuitto, sage, parsley, and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth; tie with a piece of kitchen twine to enclose. Transfer to pot along with potato. Add 5 cups water and season with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook until beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Remove beans from heat. Remove cheesecloth packet and discard. Let beans cool completely in their liquid. Beans can be made up to 1 day ahead and kept refrigerated, in their liquid.
Make the soup: Place prosciutto, onion, celery, carrot, leeks, and rosemary in the bowl of a food processor; pulse 4 or 5 times to combine.
Heat a large pot over medium heat; add olive oil and vegetables. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened and caramelized, about 15 minutes. If vegetables begin to stick or brown too fast, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to loosen.
Add butternut squash and cook, stirring, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until caramelized and well combined, making sure the bottom does not burn. Add beans, 4 cups of their cooking liquid, and chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil and whisk vigorously to break up beans.
Add pasta and reduce soup to a simmer. Cook, stirring bottom of pot occasionally, until all pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes, adding more liquid if necessary to cook pasta; season with salt and pepper.
Serve drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and cheese; season with cracked black pepper.