As an American cook, I rarely think of cooking beans and pasta side-by-side. However, this soup/pasta was very comforting and filling. According to the cookbook, "there are as many variations on this dish as there are grandmas in Italy." So, be creative, and use what you have on hand! More than likely, it will still be authentic!
Pasta e Fagioli
"The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian" Jeff Smith
2 cups cranberry beans (they are white beans with red stripes. I used 1 can of Great Northern beans and 1 can of dark red kidney beans)
6 cups cold water
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbl. tomato paste
2 tbl. fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup tubetti pasta, not cooked (I used ditalini pasta)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil, and grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
If using dried beans, place the beans and the cold water in a 6-qt. pot and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the same burner. Allow to stand 1 hour. Drain the beans and return to the pot. If using canned beans, drain and rinse them and begin from this point. Place beans in the 6-qt. pot.
Add the wine and the beef and chicken stock; bring to a boil, cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain out half the beans and puree. Return the pureed beans to the pot. Add the garlic, tomato paste, parsley, and the raw pasta and simmer gently, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the pasta is very tender and the soup is thick. Stir the soup regularly to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. Add the garnishes if desired.