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Pasta e Fagioli

Yield: 6 servings

Almost every region in Italy has their own version of this humble yet brilliant dish. Pasta e Fagioli (pah-sta eh fashg-e-ohl-eh) translates, literally, to pasta and beans.

1 lb. dry white beans
3 whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1-2 dry bay leaves
1/2 lb. Rigatoni or Ditalini pasta
6 carrots (grated)
1 onion (chopped)

1 small can tomato paste

Soak the dry white beans in a large saucepan overnight in cold water and cover. Rinse and drain well.

Place the beans back in the same saucepan and add enough water (about 5 qts) to cover the beans and some extra. Add all the above ingredients except the rigatoni. Simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. You might need to add more water.

Boil the rigatoni separately (according to the bag.) Add the cooked rigatoni to the bean mixture. Add olive oil and black pepper to taste. Stir the pasta and beans well.

Separate into 6 bowls and grate parmesan cheese over the top. Serve.

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