Mark Hix recipe: Summer pasta fagioli

Serves 4
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This is a summery, meaty version of the classic Italian pasta dish that normally uses cannellini or borlotti.

There are many ways of making a meat variant of pasta e fagioli; I've used bacon here, but you could also use pork rind, cooked pig's trotter, or even cotechino sausage.

You can use whatever summer beans are available, even using the traditional beans above as part of the mixture.

1 medium onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 rashers of unsmoked streaky bacon or slices of ham, finely chopped
2tbsp olive oil
80g peas
80g podded weight of broad beans, cooked
80g green beans, cooked and cut into ½-1cm pieces
Any other seasonal beans such as mange tout or runner beans, cut into small pieces
500ml-600ml vegetable stock
60g small pasta shapes, such as tubetti, ditalini, rigati
1tbsp of chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan, to serve
A little extra olive oil to serve

Gently cook the onion, celery, garlic and bacon in the olive oil for a few minutes until the vegetables are soft, then add the stock and simmer gently for 10 minutes; add the pasta, season, cover with a lid and continue simmering until the pasta is almost cooked – this will depend on the size and type of pasta.

Add all of the beans and parsley and simmer gently for 5 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.

The mixture should have a slightly thick, soup-like consistency; add a little more water or stock if necessary. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil, if you like.

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