Pharm to Table – Bringing Organic Chemistry to the Kitchen
In honor of the infamous Gianni (aka Jimmy) Pastafagioli calling into Friday’s Kermit and Friends, I felt it important to give the background of this delicious dish. Pastafagioli, one of Elisa Jordana’s favorite tweeters, is a play on the traditional dish Pasta e Fagioli, which is appropriately pronounced “pah-sta eh fah-jo-lee”; however, in South Philly or other Italian immigrant neighborhoods, you may hear a few guidos saying “Pasta Fazool”. It is a meatless Italian favorite that consists of very inexpensive ingredients, hence considered cucina povera (“poor man’s food”).
This simple dish fits Gianni’s personality to a tee: minimalistic, not too dry, hearty, spicy at times, and can cause an upset stomach if overindulging. Some might say the Kermit and Friends pasta craze started with linguini, but obviously Gianni felt that a very small, not-fully-erect pasta like elbow macaroni was a better representation of himself. As with many Italian dishes, getting fresh ingredients is key and I’m sure many Kermit and Friends community members have fertile gardens with the all of the rich “fertilizer” generated Monday-Friday on Spreecast.
⦁ 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
⦁ 3 celery stalks, diced medium
⦁ 2 carrots, diced medium
⦁ 1 small red onion, diced medium
⦁ 2 garlic cloves, minced
⦁ Coarse salt and ground pepper
⦁ 1 sprig oregano
⦁ 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
⦁ 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
⦁ 1 Parmesan rind (optional), plus 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan for serving
⦁ 1 cup small pasta, such as ditalini
⦁ 1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
In a medium heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add celery, carrots, onion, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 9 minutes. Add oregano, tomatoes, broth, and Parmesan rind (if using). Increase heat to high and simmer rapidly until liquid thickens slightly, 5 minutes. Add pasta and cook, partially covered, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add beans and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. To serve, remove rind and sprinkle with shaved Parmesan.