Pasta e Fagioli
1-1/2 cups dried cannelloni beans, soaked in water over night
1 rib celery, leafy top part only
1 leek, green part only
parsley stems from a small bunch
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
4 cloves garlic,peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 can (28 oz.) Italian plum tomatoes, pureed, then strained to remove skin and seeds
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, skin and seeds removed
1 box (16 oz.) tubular pasta like penne
3 ribs celery, sliced thin
6 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese, plus additional cheese to serve on the side
Put the beans in a large pot of water. Wrap celery greens, leek, parsley, bay leaf and peppercorns in cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni and
add to the pot. Add salt and cloves of garlic. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until tender, about an hour. Drain beans. Remove garlic and bouquet garni.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot, add chopped garlic and half of the beans. Heat for a few seconds, then add the canned and fresh tomatoes. Cook for about 20 minutes. Then in a food processor, puree the sauce and return to pan. Bring large pot of water to boil and add pasta. Heat the remaining olive oil and saute the celery over medium heat for about 5 minutes until tender. When the pasta is not quite cooked, drain almost completely, saving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta and liquid to the sauce as well as the rest of the beans and the celery ribs. Cook for 5-10 minutes more, until pasta is done. Add the cheese. At the table, top with more grated cheese to taste. Serves 6.
Adapted from Union Square Café.
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