The sun is shining outside. And even though it’s freezing at night and pretty cold during the day I can’t help but love this weather. It’s the perfect winter. And what a beautiful winter we have this year! The sun has been shining almost every day for the last 3 months!! Since my baby boy was born (mid October) I have been able to go out and have a little walk with him practically every day!
The only thing that is missing maybe is a bit of snow. It adds that magical touch to any winter. Who knows maybe we will get a bit by the end of this month or even in February? You know that feeling when you can stay inside and you watch out of the window, seeing everything turned white. It’s fascinating… Then comes the moment that you have to go out and then I’m less fond of the snow 😉 .
However, so far I’m enjoying the cold sunny days here in Italy.
Over the last couple of years I also came to appreciate the Italian winter dishes. Lentils, chickpeas, beans etc. I all heated it when I was younger. And now, now I love to eat it to get myself warmed up!
Such a typical Italian winter dish is Pasta e Fagioli; Pasta and Beans. Like other dishes as pizza and polenta also this dish started as a peasant dish because the ingredients are inexpensive. Nowadays you can eat it everywhere in Italy. But why eat it in a restaurant if you can make it yourself. It’s not expensive, very healthy and full of taste! And it does keep you warm when needed! Oh, and it’s even vegetarian!!
Pasta e Fagioli
250 g // 1 1/3 cup Borlotto beans
300 g // 2 cups small pasta *
50 g // 1/4 cup guanciale (or jowl bacon), chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, sliced thin
1 small glass tomato sauce
olive oil extra vergine
1/2 vegetable stock cube
* I use Garofolo “pasta mista”, mixed pasta. But you can use any type of small pasta like ditalini or tubetti or similar.
Pre-soak the dried beans for 8 hours. If you use fresh beans you don’t need to soak them before use.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pan, add onion and let it fry for 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrot and stock cube and add enough water to cover it all. Let it boil for 50 minutes. Continue to add hot water to make sure the beans are always covered with water during the 50 minutes cooking. Now mash 1/3 of the beans using a fork. Add the pasta, tomato sauce and guanciale and let it boil for another 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.