Pasta and beans is a dish that is eaten in many regions of Italy, each one has its own traditional and unique recipe. There are those who use cannellini beans, some borlotti beans, those who make it dry and those who make it in soup. In short, beans are a classic comfort food.
It seems that Cicero really liked what today would be a ‘sagna and beans’ (sagna e fagioli), logically the beans were different and this is still the typical dish of Ciociaria where Cicerone was born.
To prepare this recipe I used borbottini beans, a type of borlotto that grows only in the town of Borbone in the province of Viterbo. Its production is around 15 quintals, a rarity to discover. That territory gives the bean very specific characteristics such as a thin skin, a chestnut aftertaste and the doubling of the volume after being rehydrated.
Out of this municipality it becomes a normal borlotto.
Recipe of real Roman-style pasta and beans
The preparation of this dish begins the night before by soaking the beans. When they are rehydrated, we boil them perfuming them with a bay leaf.
On a side we prepare maltagliati, a pasta made with water and flour. I used a flour made with Elmo wheat, an ancient wheat that gives an excellent flavor to the dough and due to its strength is suitable for long leavening with very little yeast.
In a pastry board (or in a bowl) we pour the Elmo flour together with 25% 00 flour and we knead using warm water. We work to create a smooth dough which we then cover and let it rest for 15 minutes. Then we cut the pasta to our liking and the name 'maltagliati' derives from this imperfection.
At this point we are ready to prepare the soup starting with a chopped celery, carrot and onion that we put in a pan with oil, a clove of crushed garlic and a little bacon cut into strips and we brown everything.
We wait for everything to take a little color, put a teaspoon of tomato paste and season everything by adding a little cooking water from the beans. We add the beans and cook over low heat.
When the soup is almost ready, we blend a part of the beans and add more water to cook the pasta.
Before serving the soup, add a round of raw olive oil to the dish.
In the glass I chose a Cesanese del Piglio DOCG not too aged, simply perfect.