Today’s recipe is ditalini with fresh borlotti beans, rosemary & tomato – a twist on Pasta e Fagioli that I made for lunch today. I’m a girl with an eye for detail, at least when it comes to food (for you friends reading, shocked that I typed that! ;)). I didn’t want to blog pasta e fagioli yet, because I wanted to make sure that the one I eventually blog is traditional, accurate and painstakingly researched. I am almost there, but not quite. So, instead, I will blog part of the research towards that goal and call it ditalini with fresh borlotti beans, rosemary & tomato. It’s a vegetarian version, intentionally, I wanted something with clean, crisp flavours, light & fruity and healthy.
So, how to go about this? Spend a Sunday morning wandering around the food halls of London, unintentionally picking up the ingredients. Beautiful big red tomatoes of the type you would see in the mediteranean, fresh borlotti beans in their pink stripey pods, bursting to come out, ditalini pasta, shallots, garlic & some fresh rosemary from the garden. The flavours are simple and therefore very important that they are right, so good tomatoes are essential, but you could substitute the beans if you can’t get fresh borlotti – dried or tinned borlotti, or cannelini. The fresh ones are so plump and tender, it’s worth trying to find them. They also cook in the dish, imparting their goodness to the finished dish. I cook the beans first with herbs and garlic to add more flavour, but keep the water the beans were cooked in and use it to add to the stock (keeping it withinn 600ml). For the pasta, ff you can’t get ditalini, any small tubular pasta will do, try macaroni. The finished dish looks bland and drained of colour, but, I promise, it’s bursting with flavour and worth a go.
400g borlotti beans in the pod, podded
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary, one leaves remved and finely chopped
2 large good tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
600ml good vegetable stock
Some good extra virgin olive oil
First, I cook the beans in water with a clove of garlic and the sprig of rosemary that’s unchopped with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cook for 15-20 minutes until tender and strain the water through a sieve. Add to the stock or use to make the stock.
Saute the chopped shallot in some olive oil until soft but not brown over a medium heat. Add the garlic, tomato and rosemary and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the beans, pasta and stock and cook for 10 minutes or so until the pasta is cooked.
Season with S&P.
Serve immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. This is important as the pasta will continue to cook in the hot stock.