Reason #50: a hearty, traditional bean and pasta meal
One of my favorite “basic” meals from Bračka cuisine. Pašta fažol (pashta fah-joel) can be made with different kinds of pasta (spaghetti, penne, subiotti, pipe, etc.), depending on what you like.
Fažol is the Dalmatian dialect word for beans and like many words in our dialect vocabulary, it comes from Italian: fagioli.
My mom says Pašta fažol has traditionally been a poor man’s meal, because beans were cheap back then and the wealthy could afford more fancy food. Plus, the beans would make them fart and that wouldn’t be classy :)
These days you can just buy canned beans, but the proper way to do it is to buy dried beans and soak them over night.
The type of bean is runner bean (šareni grah) from Central and South America.
Like nearly any Dalmatian meal, you’ll base this on olive oil, onions, garlic and parsley. You can also fry a spoonful of flour to thicken the whole thing. Then add water and the beans.
The cooking will depend on how old the dried beans are. Anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. It’s best to use a pressure cooker to shorten this process.
It’s best to cook the pasta separately so you don’t overcook it. Put it aside and just add when the beans are completely cooked.
You can add cured meats for flavor.
My mom will add a bit of concentrated tomato paste (konšerva) for color. I don’t.
Don’t forget a couple of bay leaves when you start cooking, so you …. you know…. keep things more quiet “downstairs” later on ;)