Here's a recipe that's guaranteed to save you time: Chef Anne Burrell's Pasta Fagioli. It's one of her favorite dishes to make. Burrell, who hosts the Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, enjoys it on a Sunday afternoon, while she's relaxing and watching TV. That's because it's so easy to prepare—you've already got these ingredients in your kitchen cabinets. And here's Chef Burrell's time-saving tip: Make the soup ahead of time, let it cool, and freeze it in resealable plastic bags. When you're in need of a quick dinner (or an excuse to lounge around on a Sunday), simply defrost and add pasta.
1/4 lb pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pinch crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
28 oz San Marzano tomatoes (1 can), passed through a food mill
30 oz cannellini beans (2 cans), drained and rinsed
30 oz chickpeas (2 cans), drained and rinsed
1 lb ditalini pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano
Big fat finishing oil
Chopped chives for garnish
1. Coat a large wide pot with olive oil and add the pancetta. Bring to medium heat and cook the pancetta 4 to 5 minutes, until it starts to crisp.
2. Toss in the onion and season with salt and red pepper; cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and aromatic. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of water, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and chickpeas to the pot and cook for 20 minutes longer.
3. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta two-thirds of the way—it should still be fairly hard in the middle. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water to the pot with the tomatoes and beans. Continue cooking another 3 to 4 minutes, until the pasta is done. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
4. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and chives and drizzled with big fat finishing oil.
5. Chef Anne Burrell calls this recipe fagio-licious. She's got that right. Enjoy!
Recipe from Own Your Kitchen: Recipes to Inspire & Empower.
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