Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nettle Pasta Fagioli (fasul): a recipe

This was a dish my mother made all the time growing up, minus the nettles, and it is a favorite of ours, still.  Fagioli, or fasul, is a peasant dish from Italy--cheap, hearty, nutritious, and delicious.  Sometimes eaten as a stewy soup, we tend to eat it as a sauce over our pasta.  If you would prefer a soup, just halve the pasta.  Nettles work well in this recipe.  Their flavor gives the sauce a rich earthy flavor which we love.

2 small cans tomato paste
1 can cannelli beans or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 TBSP olive oil
large bunch nettles (we used 4 ounces here) either whole or chopped
1 box (16 oz) small shaped pasta
salt and pepper to taste

1)  Heat water in large pot to boil for pasta. Add pasta when boiling.

2)  While water is heating, heat olive oil in a large skillet.

3)  Saute onions and celery in skillet for 5 to 10 minutes until tender.

4)  Add garlic to skillet.  Cook 3 minutes.

5)  Add tomato paste and 5 cans (using one tomato paste can) of water to skillet.  Mix well.  Salt and pepper accordingly.

6)  Add beans to skillet and heat to bubbling.

7)  Now, you have two choices with your nettles.  You can either add them to the sauce and cook until nice and bubbly. Or, you can add them to the pasta water when your pasta has about 1 minute left to cook, and simply drain with the pasta.  We did the latter above--but both work equally well.  Nettles lose their sting as soon as they encounter heat.  And, like spinach, they require little cooking. 

8)  Drain pasta (and nettles) and add to sauce. 

We like ours with lots of parmesan.

1 comment:

  1. Found this tonight googling nettles and tomato paste. Thanks for this. It was fabulous! Love your blog too. I guess most people who google nettles are foragers too! :)