Saturday, October 8, 2011
bet you can't have just one
There are a few things I take for granted, living in Pennsylvania, and specifically this area of Pennsylvania. I normally don't realize other parts of the world don't have Tastycakes and Herr's potato chips and Wawas until I find myself on the opposite coast asking where the nearest Wawa is...and then having to give the best explanation my 19-year-old self could.
What I mean is, I'll bet I could eat just one Lay's potato chip because I was raised on Herr's and although I don't eat potato chips nearly as frequently now as I did as a teenager, I will always prefer them as a brand.
But this post isn't really about potato chips at all. Despite the newest issue of Vegetarian Times showing up in my mailbox today with a sweet potato chip-topped galette on the cover to make me drool a little. No, friends, this post is about Pasta e Fagioli, specifically the one from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, and generally, how darn many recipes I have for this Italian treasure.
Actually, this is a picture of my second helping, since I was too busy trying to match Mister's voracity to take a picture of the first bowl.
I have at least three "go-to" recipes for Pasta e Fagioli and I've even matched them up against each other to see who would come out on top. You might think a person in that position would not need another recipe for the same dish. You'd be wrong. Pasta e Fagioli is like the Italian version of the latino favorite, Rice 'n' Beans. I also have way too many recipes for that.
Like Rice 'n' Beans, Pasta e Fagioli is one of those meals that is so good that when you see yet another recipe, you feel compelled to try it - not because you're looking for a new "champion" but rather, because there's so little chance it will suck. It's kind of fail-safe, which is a nice quality for a sometimes work-intensive food to be. I will admit, though, I'm forever on the hunt for a Pasta e Fagioli that can truly be considered a soup and I have not found that yet.
For this recipe, I got wheel-shaped pasta for two reasons. First, the recipe was not specific - it just said "short pasta." Second, and more importantly, the last few times I've made a Pasta e Fagioli recipe, I've somehow overcooked the pasta, causing it to fall apart a little. In an effort to not wrestle the pieces of broken rotini toward one another again, I decided to try a sturdier pasta.
Normally, Pasta e Fagioli is exactly that - pasta, beans, tomatoes....that's about it. Basil. Yes, normally, there's basil. This one was a little more detailed - we had pasta, beans, tomatoes, and basil, of course, but also zucchini, carrots, and celery. I had some mixed feelings about this "complication," but as you can tell from my second serving, I got over any ill-will within a few bites.
With that, I'm off to harvest some more recipes from the three magazines I haven't had a chance to pick through yet...