Pasta Fazool (Pasta and Beans) is actually Pasta e Fagioli (fagioli is the word for beans in Italian). No matter how you say it this is a warm, inviting recipe that includes dried Great Northern Beans (shown) or you can use cannellini beans, which are soaked overnight or you can use the quick-soak method. To that you add, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary and ditalini pasta (see options). We like to use Tagliatelle, broken up, as suggested.
Drain the beans and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat and gently sauté the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the beans to the vegetables along with the tomatoes, rosemary, and about 3 cups boiling water.
Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until the beans are tender - 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the age and size of the beans.
Add more boiling water from time to time as necessary: the beans should always be covered with simmering liquid.
When the beans are very tender, transfer about 2 cups beans and their liquid to a food processor and process to a thick puree. Or put them through the medium disk of a food mill.
Stir the puree back into the beans.
Add the pasta and another cup of boiling water to the beans in the pot. Cook, stirring constantly, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and add salt and lots of black pepper.
Serve in a warm soup tureen or in individual warm bowls, garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of parsley, and some Parmigiano.
Pass more cheese and olive oil with the soup. This is a good use for high quality extra virgin olive oil. High quality extra virgin olive oil adds a wonderful aromatic flavor, excellent to finish a soup or a pot of beans.
Most beans and legumes should be soaked before cooking - lentils are a notable exception. To soak them, simply place them in a bowl with twice their quantity of fresh cool water. Set aside overnight. In the morning, discard the soaking water and start the cooking process with fresh water. Quick-soak method
Set the beans in a saucepan with twice their quantity of fresh cool water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and boil rapidly, covered, for 1 to 2 minutes. Then remove from the heat and set aside, still covered, for an hour or more. Drain the beans and use fresh water for cooking.
Ditalini pasta is the traditional pasta to use in this recipe. That said if you don't have it you can use:
Fusilli, small pasta shells, small ziti, or fettuccine or tagliatelle broken into roughly 2-inch lengths