Allesandro Castelli-Italian Peasants by a Cottage
Macaroni and Beans
I don’t always do real La Cucina Povera (the cooking of the poor) recipes but this time it’s one of the best – macaroni and beans. What could be a less expensive meal for a family? And the best part about it is that it’s delicious. Every weekday night my mother would start dinner with one of her mother’s recipes, a kind of macaroni and “something,” maybe beans, lentils, cecis (chick peas), broccoli, cauliflower and then she’d serve the main course. These macaroni dishes were terrific but she never considered them “good enough” to serve to guests.
So here’s the family recipe for Macaroni and Beans.
Start a pot of salted water for the macaroni.
Saute the onion slowly over low heat in oil. Don’t brown. Season with salt, black and red pepper. Add the tomato paste, parsley and blend. Add 1 cup of the pasta water and let this continue to simmer on a low heat as the pasta cooks.
When the pasta is almost done add add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Add the beans and some of the pasta water so it has a somewhat soupy consistency. Check for seasoning and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and,if you like, some grated cheese or toasted bread crumbs.