A Battuta of ½ an onion, ½ a carrot & 1 stick of celery,
Two tblsps of lard or the same amount of extra virgin olive oil
2 a piece of bacon rind or the skin from the prosciutto bay leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
200g of dry borlotti beans – (soaked and cooked)
½ a litre of ham stock
300ml of tomato passata
250 – 350g of pasta
pasta e fagioli I
Probably the only dish that unites Italy and therefore one of its most divisive…
The quick version takes about forty minutes, using borlotti beans that have already been cooked. and without the prosciutto stock and its skin, which I like to use. But, then the takes twenty four hours of organisation.
My tip is to start with strutto or rendered pig fat. Once rendered I infuse this with peppers, thyme, a bay leaf, cloves, star anise and garlic. It’s an amazing base flavour. If you add some strips of skin from the prosciutto, remove any part that has yellowed before adding it to the pan.
Prepare the Battuta, chopping it finely so that it will completely disintegrate into the sauce.
Heat some lard or extra virgin olive oil in a heavy based casserole and add the pieces of bacon rind, or prosciutto skin along with the battuta of vegetables. Cook the vegetables down until they have melted away then add the cooked borlotti beans, chilli, rosemary and the bay leaf. Stir all of these into the battuta. Cook for a couple of minutes, add the ham stock and bring to the boil. Cook on a rolling boil until the liquid has reduced down by at least half.
Add the tomato passata, bring back to the boil and simmer on a gentle heat for about thirty minutes.
Remove the piece of prosciutto skin from the sauce, cut away any fat, chop into small slices or cubes and return to the sauce.
Whilst the sauce is finishing, bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the pasta, draining it whilst it is still very al dente. From the pan, fish out and discard the rosemary, bay leaves and bacon rind and add the pasta to the sauce. Stir it in and finish cooking the al dente pasta in the sauce. Turn off the heat and allow the pasta fagioli to cool down for a couple of minutes before serving.