Fusilli with Turnip Greens, Beans, Peppers and Tomato
I remember as a child growing up in England, hearing Dean Martin singing "That's Amore" and finding the line about "pasta fazool" absolutely hilarious... what WAS that anyway?!?! How was I to know that is was the American way of saying "pasta e fagioli", or pasta and beans? We used to have pasta and been soup as well, but it was very different to the dish that ol' Dean Martin was singing about and of course you always want to have what you haven't got and the grass does always seem greener from the other side...
So now, a few years later (no I am NOT going to admit to it being more like 35 years later!), I decided to try something a little different to the kind of pasta and bean soup my mother used to make in Sicily and to see what all that singin' was about anyway...
My mom used to make a soup with a broth made from the greens, which were usually broccoli or cabbage and with either kidney, Cannelini beans- (or both!), maybe a potato or two... and that was it. Very basic, rustic and honest and much better than it may sound. But my dish this evening was a little more complex, a little bit more fun, but equally easy and definitely a whole lot quicker- especially as I used beans from a can!
First, prepare a "sofritto" of finely diced carrot, celery and onion and sautée it with some finely diced smokey bacon until it begins to brown. In the meantime, cut the turnip greens into small pieces and add them into the mix. Next, deglaze the saucepan with a little white wine and and add your pasta of choice and enough boiling water to cover it. Add salt, pepper, thyme and a little Tabasco and let it simmer for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. After this time, the pasta is almost done and it will have soaked up a lot of the broth. Add a good tablespoon of tomato paste, the beans and about a cupful of finely diced red peppers.
Before you know it, the juices will have thickened up to more than a broth but less of a soup- a kind-of in-between thing that is really, really nice in the Winter!
Serve with a light drizzle of olive oil, a fresh splash of Tabasco, a little fresh thyme and some grated, salted ricotta cheese! And does that sound good- or does that sound good! Buon apetito!