Today’s food story has been graciously provided by Matt Ioria of Second Generation Chef. Matt is a second year journalism student at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a “second generation chef” following in his father’s ambitious footsteps.
Ah Pasta Fagioli, or Pasta “Fazool” as it’s commonly referred to. Pasta Fagioli and I go way back. How far back? All the way back to my earliest memories. And the funny thing about Pasta Fagioli is that I never tried it until tonight when I made it.
(Cue the fading into a memory visual effects and music.) When I was younger I was very picky – so picky that hot dogs headlined most of my meals. As a kid, my Dad would always make various dishes that stemmed from his Italian background. These dishes seemed very foreign to me as my diet and knowledge of food did not extend farther than hot dogs and chicken nuggets. So when my Dad would tell me what those dishes were called I would never believe him. Especially when he told me he was making Pasta “Fazool.”
“Hey M, I’m making Pasta ‘Fazool,’” said my Dad.
“Good one Dad, sure you are,” I said.
“No seriously, do you want some?” he would respond with a smile on his face.
“Dad stop!” I would yell back. “Pasta ‘Fazool’ isn’t real!”
Hearing that my Dad was making Pasta “Fazool” actually did make me very angry. One time, I refused so strongly to believe that my Dad was actually making something called “Fazool” that I started crying. Yes, I cried because I thought my Dad wouldn’t give up the cruel joke he was playing on me.
Not until years after that incident did I realize Pasta “Fazool” was a real dish. What taught me my lesson? My Dad ordered it for dinner at the Olive Garden one night and incredibly the waitress didn’t give him a weird look. When the waitress took his order and didn’t say that “Fazool” wasn’t real, I finally realized that my darkest fear had become reality – “FAZOOL” WAS REAL.
- 1 sweet onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- One 28 ounce can of tomato sauce
- One 16 ounce can of cantellini beans
- One 15 ounce can of beef broth
- 1 cup of red wine
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pound of pasta (spaghetti)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1) Dice the onion into small pieces – so small that 5 or more pieces could fit onto your fingernail.
2) Dice 2 cloves of garlic into pieces the same size or smaller than the pieces of onion.
Tip: To dice the garlic, lay the blade of your knife flat on top of each garlic clove. Press down onto the blade so it flattens the garlic clove. Then proceed with dicing/chopping the garlic.
3) On your stove, heat a large pot at about medium. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot along with the onions and cloves of garlic that you have already chopped up. Saute the contents of the pot until golden brown.
4) Add, to the pot, your cans of tomato sauce (28 ounces,) cannellini beans (16 ounces,) and beef broth (15 ounces) along with 1 cup of red wine, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar.
Note: My Dad adds the 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to reduce the acidity of the “sauce.”
5) Once all the ingredients are in the pot cooking, begin to boil water separately to cook the pasta in. Before cooking the pasta, break the pieces of spaghetti into thirds.
*Continually stir the “sauce” to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot and so it cooks evenly.
6) Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the pot containing the “sauce.”Mix and then serve.