Also called pasta fazool (or pasta fasul), pasta e fagioli is not a precise recipe – add more or less chilli or garlic to suit your taste, alter the ratio of pasta to beans if you prefer more of one or the other and add more or less water to give it a soupier or heartier consistency. Whatever you do, it’s even better the next day! It will thicken up when it’s left to stand, just add more water when you reheat. Always use good canned Italian tomatoes, such as Mutti, for the best result. The sambal oelek has no place in this recipe culturally, but it’s my favourite way to add a quick chilli hit to any dish (and the brand I use, Conimex, is just chilli and salt with no Asian flavour); use dried chilli flakes if you prefer. Sometimes it’s fun to match the most rustic dish with a special wine – and one of my favourite little luxuries is aged Aussie riesling. One from Leasingham in Australia’s premier riesling region, Clare Valley, will still have plenty of spring in its step along with lovely aged complexity and make for a very indulgent supper.
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a hearty main
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