Pasta e fagioli is pronounced correctly as pa-stah eh fadj oh lee. The translation into English is pasta and beans, and that is exactly what the dish contains.
Ingredients of pasta e fagioli
The principal ingredients of pasta e fagioli are pasta and beans. The dish is a traditional Italian dish that contains no meat or fish. The dish began life as a humble meal popular with peasants mainly due to the wide availability and the reasonable price of its ingredients.
The beans that are used are either cannellini beans, or borlotti beans, and the type of pasta used comes in a small, ribbed, tube shape known as elbow-macaroni or ditalini (little thimble). Like most Italian dishes, the recipe of the dish varies by region, although the the combination of pasta and beans is always the basis.
Other ingredients that are added for flavor are garlic, olive oil and spices. Onion is added in some regions, as is tomato and tomato paste. In some regions the tomato is replaced with gravy. Some restaurants add meat to the dish to increase its popularity, as well as the price. The tomato versions of the dish are often thicker in consistency.
The beans used in pasta e fagioli
There are two main types of beans used, although they are combined in certain variations of the dish.
- Cannellini beans
These beans are a type of kidney bean, also known as white beans. They are used extensively in Italian cookery and they have high levels of lectin, a toxin. Careful cooking is therefore important.
- Borlotti beans
Borlotti beans are also known as romano beans and are a variety of cranberry bean. The bean is very popular in Italian cuisine, and is also widely used in Portugal and Turkey.