Sunday, January 13, 2008

Drowning in Pasta Fazool

Over the holidays, my family was talking about some of our favorite foods, and we all agreed that we love Pasta e Fagiole (which is also pronounced "fajool" or "fazool" depending on the dialect.)  My mom, and my uncle both said they'd made Lydia's pasta fazool, and that it was the best one.  I was excited to try it, since as much as I love this soup, I'd never actually made it at home.  Now, Lydia has never met a pig part she hasn't wanted to toss into a recipe, so I knew there would be some modification involved.  And what an experience it was!!

Lydia's recipe is kind of complex, in the sense that there is a lot of moving ingredients into the soup pot, then into the skillet, then back into the soup pot, then into the blender, then back again... all the while adding things and adjusting seasonings.
The recipe also calls for 12 (!!!) slices of bacon. Since I was leaving that out, I doubled the garlic, added a bunch of salt, increased the other spices, and used vegetable broth for about 1/2 the water.  

Even so, the first taste was so disappointing.  The soup was completely bland, and I'd made enough of it to feed an army!  
A frantic phone call to my uncle, who consulted his wall of cookbooks, saved the day.  I added more tomatoes, plus some red and white wine, and left the pot alone for awhile for the flavors to meld.  
By the time the Big Kahuna got home from work, there was a big steaming pot of pasta fazool simmering away on the stove.  

Fortunately, the soup was a hit, because even after helping ourselves to seconds, there were still 9 tupperware, and an enormous bowl left over.  

We stashed half in the freezer, and the rest in the fridge for quick meals throughout the week.  

I feel a bit like Stregga Nonna with her endless pot of pasta... We'll be eating this one pot of pasta for a long, long time.

-- the little kahuna

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