Tagghiarini cu fasolu in Sicilian or Tagliarini with Beans, is my mother’s pasta e fagioli recipe. When I was younger I did not like eating beans. Each time my mother made this dish, I’d make a huge pile of beans on one side of my plate while I devoured the pasta. I’ve long since gotten over my aversion to beans and this dish is, hands down, the most satisfying, comforting pasta with beans that I’ve ever eaten. My mother makes the tagghiarini just a little bit thicker than your typical pasta and therefore they have a satisfying bite to them. Occasionally a few of them would stick together when cooking and I would intentionally fish those out ’cause I love that chewier texture. Combine that with the creaminess of the soft beans and I’m in heaven! This is definitely not an elegant dish but it is a classic example of cucina povera or peasant food and it is the ultimate comfort food.
Tagliarini with Beans is even better eaten the next day. The pasta is cooked in the water that you cooked your beans in, so the starch in the pasta combined with the beans creates a thick, creamy, smooth texture. In fact, I like to cook the tagliarini and let them sit a while before serving to get that texture I love.
You can’t use canned beans to make this recipe since you need the cooking water to cook your tagliarini in, so you’ll have to make sure you soak your beans overnight before cooking. Until recently my mother almost always used beans from her own garden but we now use dry romano beans.
You’ll note that the recipe only uses one egg compared to most pasta recipes that call for several eggs resulting in a more yellow colored pasta. I used my pasta maker to roll the dough and then used the attachment to cut the sheets into tagliarini. I don’t roll the dough until the thinnest setting. I prefer a slightly thicker, chewier tagliarini so I stop at the third to last setting. Alternately, you can roll the dough with a rolling pin, fold the pasta sheet into thirds and use a sharp knife to cut approximately 1 cm wide strips. You can also prepare your tagliarini ahead and freeze them before cooking. They do not require defrosting, simply drop them into the boiling liquid to cook. Unlike all other pasta dishes we never serve this dish with cheese. A light drizzle of good quality olive oil is all that is necessary before serving.
We still have several more weeks of winter left and indulging in a nice comforting bowl of Tagghiarini cu Fasolu will definitely help you make it to spring! Enjoy!
Tagliarini with Beans (Tagghiarini cu fasolu)
For the beans:
- 2 cups 1/2 lb dry romano beans
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1 small tomato chopped
- 12 cups water
- salt to taste
- olive oil for serving
For the tagliarini:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup water
- Place beans in a large bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. The following day, heat olive oil in a large pot and sauté onion. Add the chopped tomato and cook a few minutes. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and stir into the onion-tomato mixture. Cover with 12 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, approximately 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Add salt, to taste.
- Meanwhile prepare the tagliarini. Place flour in a mound on a clean surface. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg and 1/2 cup water. Using your fingers, gradually incorporate the flour into the egg mixture and knead to form a dough, about 5 minutes. If the mixture is too dry add 1 tbsp. of water at a time until the dough holds together. The dough must not be sticky. When a smooth dough is formed, flatten into a disc, cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for half an hour.
- Cut the chilled dough into 4 pieces. Flatten a piece of dough with your hands, lightly flouring both sides. Run the dough through the pasta maker with the flat rollers set to the widest setting. Run the dough twice at each setting until the sheet of dough is approximately 3 mm thick. I roll up to the third to last setting on my pasta maker. Cut each sheet into 3 and cover with a dish towel to prevent from drying while you roll the remaining pieces of dough.
- Using the attachment to cut the pasta sheets into strips, run each piece through the machine to form tagliarini. Alternately, you can use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into thin sheets, then fold into thirds and using a sharp knife cut tagliarini strips that are approximately 1 cm wide. Loosely place the tagliarini on a dish towel and dust lightly with flour to prevent from sticking.
- When the beans are tender, bring the liquid to a boil and add tagliarini. Cook until al dente, about 5 minutes and salt, if necessary. They are now ready to serve or if you prefer a thicker, creamier texture, turn the heat off and let the tagliarini rest for about 30 minutes before serving.
- Drizzle lightly with olive oil before serving.