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Pasta e Fagioli

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Pasta e fagioli or pasta fagioli, meaning "pasta and beans", is a traditional meatless Italian dish. Like many other Italian favorites including pizza and polenta, the dish started as a peasant dish, due to cheaply available beans and pasta. Today it can be widely found, even in restaurants that do not feature Italian cuisine.

Pasta fagioli is made using cannellini beans or borlotti beans and some type of small pasta such as elbow macaroni or ditalini. The base is generally olive oil, garlic, minced onion, and spices, along with stewed tomatoes or tomato paste, or traditionally, in home recipes, the leftover Sunday "gravy". Some variations do not include tomatoes at all, and are made from a broth. Modern restaurant recipes often include an Italian meat such as prosciutto.

The recipe varies greatly based on the region or even town it is prepared, as it often happens with Italian dishes; also the variety of beans used changes. The recipe may be modified, even in the same family, according to the season: pasta e fagioli may include prosciutto, pancetta, or guanciale in winter, but those ingredients are omitted if it is cooked in summer.

The consistency of the dish can vary, as some renditions fall clearly in the soup category, usually because the tomato was left out, while others are much thicker.

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References

Pasta e Fagioli, en.wikipedia.org

Pasta e Fagioli Recipe, www.suite101.com

Pasta and Beans: Pasta e Fagioli, www.foodnetwork.com