It seems that every Italian family has their own idea of what should be in pasta fagioli. Some make it simply, with tomatoes, beans, and pasta. Others add meat or bacon, and some add vegetables like celery or carrots. I don't think that my family ever had a specific recipe for pasta fagioli, although whatever my Mom puts in her version is wonderful! Mickey also has a delicious recipe which uses bacon for a rich taste.
For me, today, this is my version of pasta fagioli. I'm sure it will change and evolve over time, but I'm happy with this comforting and satisfying recipe. I like to serve this with fresh bread and plenty of grated parmesan-romano cheese. So good!
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrots
1 lb lean ground chuck or ground beef
1 can (15.8 oz) great northern or cannellini beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
3 cups tomato puree
2 cups Ditali pasta (dry) or other small pasta
salt and pepper
In a large pot over medium-low heat, heat 4-5 tablespoons olive oil. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add in the carrots, cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
Add the ground chuck, and a few generous pinches of salt and some cracked pepper. Cook on medium-low until the meat is brown and cooked all the way through.
Add the tomato puree, 4 cups of water, and another sprinkle or 2 of salt. Bring mixture up to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.
While the tomato mixture is simmering, cook the pasta (in a separate pot) to al dente, drain and set aside.
After tomato mixture has cooked for 15-20 minutes, add in the cooked pasta and the drained beans. Turn heat up slightly and cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve hot, and topped with grated cheese. Enjoy!