Pasta e fagioli: delicious bowl of syllables


March 17, 1993|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Staff Writer

This Italian soup is traditionally spelled pasta e fagioli and commonly spelled pasta vasule.

For those who have grown up enjoying this soup, pronouncing it is another matter. Syllables in vasule and fagioli elongate into a mellifluous "pasta e fajoooooolie" or "pasta vazooooooll."

Pat Hufnagel of Ellicott City requested the soup.

Responses came from many people, including Annie Ormsby of Millington and from Caroline Pacunas-Flick of Baltimore.

Mrs. Flick wrote, "I am of Italian descent and have eaten a lot of pasta vasule, some with meat, some without. I am sending my grandmother's recipe, the classic way to make it. She was a little old Italian woman we called Nona and my taste buds recall she was a wonderful Italian cook. I'm sorry she is gone but the taste of her pasta vasule will live forever," she said.

Nona's pasta vasule

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 onion chopped

1 carrot chopped very fine

1 stalk celery chopped fine

1 ham bone

1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice

20-ounces white kidney beans drained

3 cups beef stock

6 ounces elbow pasta or dilatini

Parmesan or Romano cheese

In a stock pot, heat oil and saute onions until clear. Add carrots, celery and ham bone and saute until vegetables begin to tender. Add tomatoes and simmer 20 minutes then add beans. Heat through and then add stock. Simmer 10 minutes and remove 1/2 cup of beans, puree them and return them to the pot. Cook pasta al dente and add to the rest of the mixture.

Allow the soup to rest 10 to 20 minutes and serve. Top with Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Ormsby's pasta e fagioli

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium size onions chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

3/4 cups diced, smoked ham

1/2 teaspoon each oregano and basil

1 cup tomato sauce or canned tomatoes drained.

3 cans, 13 3/4 -ounces each, chicken broth

1/2 pound short, tubular macaroni

1 can (14 to 16-ounces) white cannellini beans or red kidney beans may be used.

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

freshly grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheese

salt and pepper to taste.

In large saucepan, heat oil and saute onions and ham for 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and basil. Saute 2 minutes. Add tomato and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth and beans and bring to a boil mashing some of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Cut back heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add macaroni, salt and pepper cooking gently until macaroni is al dente. Cover and remove from heat and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

"Then add the parsley and serve with plenty of grated cheese and crusty bread," wrote Annie Ormsby.

Chef Syglowski, of the Baltimore International Culinary College, who tests responses to requests, chose these two recipes and had few changes to suggest except he preferred beef stock.

He also noted that the soup may get a bit too thick and more water should be added.

Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, tests recipes for Recipe Finder.

Recipe requests

* Alma Escassie of Pennsylvania is ready to take advantage of spring blooms because she wants a recipe for dandelion wine.

* Donna Scott and Cindy Goodman write that they are looking for a recipe for jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese or Cheddar cheese which are breaded and deep fried.

* Doris C. Griffin of Baltimore wants to go back to an "old coconut cake in which the milk from the fresh coconut is used. I moved to Charlestown, a retirement home and lost my recipe when I moved."

* Bernadine B. Biernat of Baltimore wants to make a muffin she saw in a muffin cookbook but now can't find it. "Its called Morning Glory Muffin," she wrote.

* M. Cromwell of Baltimore would appreciate a recipe for cheese bread once served at Hutzler's restaurant and says it may have been published in The Sun years ago when Hutzlers closed.

* Judy Foltz of Baltimore writes that she recently attended a potluck dinner where a Mexican dish called Chicken Mole was served. "Oddly, one of the ingredients was chocolate and it was delicious. I've had no luck finding this recipe."

Lucy Gatt of Baltimore has never made a recipe she had several years ago called Elvis Presley vegetable soup. "I took the recipe to the store to buy the ingredients and lost it. I hope someone out there has it," she wrote.


If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a long-gone recipe, maybe we can help. Write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

If you send in more than one recipe, put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and phone number. We will test the first 12 recipes sent to us.

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