Pasta e Fagioli

I love soup when the weather begins to cool. Here is my version of Pasta e Fagioli, using dried pinto and lima beans.

Pasta e Fagioli – my version

1 cup dried pinto beans
1/2 cup dried lima beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound sweet italian turkey sausage
1 yellow onion — chopped
2 carrots — peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks — chopped
4 large garlic cloves — minced
8 cups beef stock — or as needed
1 pint diced canned plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt — plus more to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper — to taste
1/2 pound favorite dried pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil — for serving
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese — for serving

Pick over the beans, rinse, drain and place in a saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1/2 hour. Drain.

In a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the italian sausage and sauté, stirring about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes more. Add the stock, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs, vinegar, salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour.

When the soup is almost ready, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well and cook until barely al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 8 minutes or according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and add it to the soup.

To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top each serving with a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil, some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a liberal grinding of pepper.


Peanut Butter Cookies and Mountain Lake

I have been neglecting my blog. Oh dear!

Motorcycle trips, fall festivities, and cookies are the topic of my trying to get back into blogging.

We have taken several fall road trips, and the one I was most amazed was to Mountain Lake for Octoberfest.

Here is the lake as it was in a picture in 1927. You can see the lake in the background with the guests on the veranda.

Here is the lake today…No Lake!

If you are not familiar with Mountain Lake, it is the natural lake in Virginia where the film Dirty Dancing was filmed. Here is a photo in the lounge of filming.

Anyway the lake has disappeared and they say it is a natural occurrence, but I seriously doubt we will see it filled again in our lifetime. Hubby and I last visited around 2000 and it seemed full at that time.

I was amazed that the lake is gone now. Here is an article link explaining the process.

So much for that, and now I am going to praise this peanut butter cookie that I have praised before. I kid you not, it is one of the best cookies and no flour to boot!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup reduced-fat peanut butter
1 cup Splenda
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all together and roll into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and criss-cross tops with a fork dipped in Splenda.
You can sprinkle some Splenda on top if you like.

Bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes.

Makes about 12 small cookies or 9 larger.