Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)

1/4 pound diced Apple Smoked Bacon (optional) (we like Hobbs)
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, (3-4 tablespoons if not using bacon)
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3/4 cup diced Roma tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 pound Royal Corona or Cassoulet beans, soaked 6-8 hours
4 cups homemade chicken stock or your favorite canned chicken stock
6-8 cups water if necessary
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
1 cup pasta (your choice shape such as little tubes or broken papardelli noodles
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Da Vero Lemon Olive Oil to drizzle
Vella Dry Jack to grate to taste over the “fazool”

In a large heavy bottom soup pot, sauté bacon until browned. Remove bacon from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Discard all but about 1-2 tablespoons bacon fat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil (or start with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil if you are not using bacon).

Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery, carrots, and garlic until soft and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, stock, oregano, and return bacon to the pot. Simmer over medium heat until beans are tender, about 1 hour (cooking time may vary depending on freshness of beans). You may add water if necessary.

Add pasta and continue cooking until al dente. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and allow the “fazool” to stand for 10 minutes before serving, to concentrate the flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Drizzle individual bowls with lemon olive oil, and sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Pasta e Fagioli with Escarole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup tomato sauce (you can use your favorite)
1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans, or another creamy white bean
1 cup stock (Try chicken stock and bean broth, half and half)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 pound short, flat pasta (I broke up tagliatelle nests)
1 head escarole, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 3 or 4 as a light main dish

In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft, 8–10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, beans, stock, and rosemary sprig and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook gently for another 10–15 minutes to combine the flavors.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, using plenty of salted water. Drain the pasta.

Remove the rosemary sprig from the sauce, then mix in the drained pasta; add the escarole and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Classic Pasta Fagioli

Serves 4-6

1 lb Baia Pasta Organic Durum Wheat Sardinians (Or try Whole Durum Wheat or Spelt pasta from Baia)
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Cranberry beans
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans
4 cups bean broth from the cooked beans (If you have less than four cups, make up the difference with chicken broth)
4 oz pancetta, cubed or roughly chopped
1 tbs of lard (or 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1 carrot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs tomato paste
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste (optional)
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

As you prepare the beans, make sure you have plenty of liquid on hand when they are done as this will be the basis for your sauce.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the soffritto. Melt the lard (or olive oil) in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Slowly fry the pancetta until fragrant and chewy. Once cooked, remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel. If needed, add more olive oil so there is enough fat to fry the aromatic vegetables.

Add the carrot, celery, garlic and onion until the vegetables are soft and the onion is turning golden colored.

Add the tomato paste and pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until the paste is heated through and the tomato flavor is intensified.

Add the bean broth and rosemary sprig and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or so. The liquid should start to reduce.

Cook the pasta in a large stockpot in salted water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Add the drained pasta, beans, and reserved pancetta to the soffritto mixture, mix well and gently cook for a few minutes to marry the various flavors.

Serve immediately with a splash of peppery extra virgin olive oil. Pass around a bowl of grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese for the guests to help themselves.

Pork, Pork, Pork, and Beans

Serves 6-8

1 pound Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans
1 1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in Pork Butt (Shoulder)
5 slices Uncured Rustic Bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (lardons)
4 links Rustic Pork Sausage, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mirepoix:

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 large stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
14 ounce can diced tomatoes with the juice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
5 branches fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Beans:

3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, preferably Rancho Gordo Sal de Mar sea salt (from the Yucatan)
2 cups panko crumbs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Seasoning the pork butt: Remove the bone from the pork butt and cut the meat into 1 1/2-to-2 inch chunks. Season all sides of the meat with salt and pepper, and refrigerate it (uncovered) for a day.

Soaking the beans: Put the beans in a bowl and cover with 2-inches cold water. Soak the beans for 4 to 6 hours.

Begin the cooking: Put the bacon into a cold 5 quart enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven and place the pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon from for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is just beginning to color. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the mirepoix vegetables together and reserve 1/2 cup for cooking the beans. Add the remaining vegetables to the pan and sauté in the bacon fat, stirring from time to time for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and are just beginning to color.

Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Add the wine, thyme and bay leaf. Tuck the pork chunks into the vegetables, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and put (uncovered) in the oven to cook for about 2 hours.

Cooking the beans (while the meat is in the oven):
Heat a medium size enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven. Add the oil and the reserved mirepoix and saute about 10 minutes to soften.

Add the beans and their soaking water, adding additional water to reach 2-inches above the beans. Place over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Continue to boil rapidly for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.

Place the lid slightly ajar (to allow evaporation), and reduce the heat to cook the beans at a gentle simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water as needed to be sure the beans are covered by 2 inches of water at all times; use the lid to control the heat.

After about 1 hour, the smell of beans should be pronounced and you can salt the beans at this point. Add 11/2 tablespoons of salt. Continue to cook until the beans are just tender.

Completing the dish: Once the pork is tender, remove the pieces from the pan. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and discard.

Put the cooked vegetables and any juices into a food processor. Add the smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, a few grinds of black pepper and lemon juice and puree.

Drain the beans and put them in the Dutch oven. Stir in the bacon pieces and the vegetable puree.

Nestle the pork meat and sausages into the beans, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and return to the oven (uncovered) to cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the panko crumbs in a bowl and stir in the butter. Remove the pot from the oven and sprinkle the panko over the top. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until the crumbs are a rich golden brown.

White Beans, Wild Rice, and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 large heirloom tomato, cubed
2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Rancho Gordo Pineapple Vinegar to taste
1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Wild Rice
1/2 cup cooked white beans, such as Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Alubia Blanca beans
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Serves 1–easy to scale up

In a bowl, combine the tomato, olive oil, salt and pepper, and vinegar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes.

To make the salad, toss the wild rice with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Make a ring around a bowl with the rice, then add the macerated tomatoes and finally the cooked beans. Sprinkle with parsley and maybe indulge yourself with one small drizzle of olive oil.

White Beans with Salsa Verde

Cooked Royal Coronas, Alubia Blanca, or Cassoulet beans

To make Italian salsa verde:

Pound a clove of garlic with some salt and make a paste.

Add chopped fresh sage and flat-leaf parsley (about 3 parts sage to one part parsley) and continue pounding as you add really good olive oil.

Pancetta, Corn, and Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Marcella beans
2 cups water (or half water and half bean broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

In a soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta cubes and saute over medium-low heat until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from burning.

Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, oregano, beans, and water, stirring to mix all of the ingredients. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Right before serving, you can add some heavy cream if you like. Allow the soup to cook another 2 or 3 minutes to reheat if necessary. Serve in bowls, garnished with fresh herbs.

Gigante Beans in Creamy Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
28-ounce can whole peeled Roma tomatoes, with tomatoes roughly chopped, liquid reserved
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 4 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans
Fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil

Serves 2 to 4

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the garlic, onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil until soft, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the stock and wine. Add the cream and gently cook another 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

Divide the beans among bowls and top with the sauce. Sprinkle parsley over the top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Yellow Indian Woman Bean Bowl with Pickled Shallots and Goat Cheese

For this meal, the Yellow Indian Woman beans met with the shallots and a few crumbles of goat cheese. As the whole mess settles and melts you get what is almost a sauce and the beans have never been happier.

Thinly sliced shallots
Sea salt
Rancho Gordo Banana Vinegar or Pineapple Vinegar
Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
Yellow Indian Woman beans, cooked in the Rancho Gordo Manner
Crumbled goat cheese

To make the pickled shallots: Place sliced shallots in a bowl and add enough vinegar to cover completely. Add a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of Oregano Indio (crush with your hand). Let rest about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Scoop warm beans and broth into a bowl and top with a spoonful of pickled shallots and a crumble of goat cheese.

Gigante Bean Bowl

1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 cup chopped leeks
8 stalks of celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
1 teaspoon chile flakes
1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes

1 lb. cooked white beans (Such as giant corona)
7 cups of water
2-3+ teaspoons fine grain sea salt, or to taste

1 cup basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil

to serve: cilantro or radish flowers (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat place the olive oil, red onion, leeks, and a pinch of salt. Stir well, and cook until the leeks begin to take on a hint of color.

At this point stir in the celery, caraway, and chiles, then saute, stirring regularly, until everything begins to caramelize and take on color.

Stir in the tomatoes, followed by the beans, and then the water. There should be more than enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a simmer for at least ten minutes, although I like to simmer it longer if I have the time. Stir in the salt, and adjust if needed.

While the soup is simmering use a mortar and pestle (or chop by hand) to smash the basil and salt into a paste – the smoother the better. Add the Parmesan and olive oil, a bit at a time, and work into a green drizzle.

Serve each bowl of soup topped with a generous drizzle of the pistou. And a bit of cilantro or edible flowers to finish.

Serves 6.

Borlotti Bean Bowl

1 pound cranberry beans (like Borlotti)
8 cups of water
15 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and trimmed

2 big shallots or white onion, sliced on the axis into thin crescents

2-3 dried smoked serranos, dried chipotles or other dried chilies or even one or two chipotles from the can (in adobo sauce)

2 teaspoons+ fine sea salt for seasoning

a drizzle of flavorful extra-virgin olive oil

a small handful of cilantro, chopped

a couple (optional) handfuls of a salty hard cheese, Parmesan, grated

Soak your beans overnight. Before soaking give them a good rinse. Look carefully for any pebbles or dirt clumps. Cover with a few extra inches of water, the Borlottis take in a lot of liquid. When you are ready to use the beans, drain them, rinse again, and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350. Place the racks near the bottom of the oven.

Put the beans, water, garlic, shallots, and chiles in an oven-proof pot or casserole – preferably one with an oven-proof lid.

Place the pot on a rimmed baking sheet (in case of accidental overflow), and place in the oven for two hours, or until beans are nice and tender. After the first hour check every twenty minutes or so.

When the beans are done, pull the pot out of the oven and season generously with salt. Stir and taste. Season so the broth tastes just right, the beans need some time to take in the saltier broth at this point, so once you have the broth seasoned nicely, just let the soup sit there on the top of the stove, covered for another ten minutes or so. Taste and adjust for seasoning one more time and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

To serve, first ladle a generous scoop of beans into each bowl, and follow with the broth to cover. Sprinkle with cilantro and cheese.

Serves 4 to 6

Chocolate Calypso Beans

1 lb. calypso or Jacob’s Cattle beans
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2T. ground, dried red chilies (I used med-hot Chimayo)
1 1/2 T ground cumin
2+ t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground allspice
4 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 12 oz. bottle Negro Modelo Mexican beer
1 1/2 discs Ibarra Mexican chocolate

Rinse the beans, pick out any pebbles or dirt. Rehydrate beans by soaking overnight, or start soaking them in the morning if you are cooking later in the evening. Drain and rinse.

In a large stock pot saute the onion, red pepper, and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the spices and saute for another minute or so.

To the sauteed ingredients/spices add drained beans, water or stock, and beer. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, roughly two hours, stirring gently every 15 minutes or so.

When beans are done stir in the chocolate and generously add salt to taste.

Lentil Soup with Saffron Yogurt

2 cups black beluga lentils (or green French lentils), picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
3 cups of a big leafy green (chard, kale, etc), rinsed well, deveined, finely chopped

Saffron Yogurt
a pinch of saffron (30-40 threads)
1 tablespoon boiling water
two pinches of salt
1/2 cup 2 percent Greek Yogurt

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the lentils, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, make the saffron yogurt by combining the saffron threads and boiling water in a tiny cup. Let the saffron steep for a few minutes. Now stir the saffron along with the liquid into the yogurt. Mix in the salt and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and salt and saute until tender, a couple minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, and water and continue cooking for a few more minutes, letting the soup come back up to a simmer. Stir in the chopped greens, and wait another minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be. Ladle into bowls, and serve with a dollop of the saffron yogurt.

Serves 6 to 8.

Variations:

– You can serve it with a poached egg on top,
– or crunchy, fried shallots,
– with a drizzle of chive infused cream,
– or with chunks of tiny pan-fried butternut squash cubes.

– Make a thicker version by using just a bit of water, and then spoon it over an omelette in the morning.

– Have some cooked farro or wheat berries around? Toss some in. Millet might be good too.

– You can finish the soup by adding your favorite spices or spice blends. Smoked paprika, crushed chiles, toasted cumin, would all work nicely.

New Year Noodle Soup with Chickpeas, Beans, and Lentils

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 long red chili OR green serrano, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 1/2 cups / 2 liters good-tasting vegetable stock/broth

100g / 3.5 oz yellow split peas or brown lentils
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed if using canned
2 cups / 350g cooked borlotti beans

fine grain sea salt

120 g thin egg noodles, fresh or dried
3 1/2 oz / 100g fresh spinach leaves, finely shredded
1/2 cup finely shredded cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
juice of one lime

Toppings:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
100 ml sour cream or creme fraiche
50g / scant 2 ounces of toasted, chopped walnuts

Heat the oil in a large, thick-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and the chile and cook until they soften, a few minutes. Add the spices and cook for another thirty seconds, just long enough for them to toast a bit, then stir in the stock. Bring to a boil and add the split peas/lentils to the pot. Cook until they are just tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and borlotti beans. Once the beans have heated throughout, season with salt to taste.

In the meantime, you can prepare the toppings. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat along with a couple big pinches of salt. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 8 – 10+ minutes. Set aside.

Just before you’re ready to eat, add the noodles to the simmering soup and cook until al dente. Stir in the spinach, and cilantro and dill. Add a big squeeze of lime to the pot or serve wedges along with each bowl of soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Serve right away, each bowl topped with a big spoonful of caramelized onions, some creme fraiche, and a sprinkling of walnuts.

Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut Milk and Turmeric

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 (15-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 bunch Swiss chard, kale or collard greens, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup mint leaves, for serving
Yogurt, for serving (optional)
Toasted pita, lavash or other flatbread, for serving

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and ginger. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent and starts to brown a little around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add turmeric, red-pepper flakes and chickpeas, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, so the chickpeas sizzle and fry a bit in the spices and oil, until they’ve started to break down and get a little browned and crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove about a cup of chickpeas and set aside for garnish.

Add coconut milk and stock to the remaining chickpeas in the pot, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any bits that have formed on the bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until stew has thickened and flavors have started to come together, 30 to 35 minutes. (Taste a chickpea or two, not just the liquid, to make sure they have simmered long enough to taste as delicious as possible.)

Add greens and stir, making sure they’re submerged in the liquid. Cook a few minutes so they wilt and soften, 3 to 7 minutes, depending on what you’re using. (Swiss chard and spinach will wilt and soften much faster than kale or collard greens.) Season again with salt and pepper.

Divide among bowls and top with mint, reserved chickpeas, a sprinkle of red-pepper flakes and a good drizzle of olive oil. Serve alongside yogurt and toasted pita if using; dust the yogurt with turmeric if you’d like.

Baked Beans with Maple-Glazed Bacon

3 1/2 cups dried yellow eye or cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 2 hours and drained
Kosher salt
9 thick slices of bacon (10 ounces), 1 slice cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

In a large pot, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 hours; add water as needed to keep the beans covered by 2 inches. Season the beans with salt and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 4 cups of the cooking liquid. Transfer the beans to a large, deep baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook the bacon strips over moderate heat until the fat has rendered, 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 minutes. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, crushed red pepper, black pepper and 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt and simmer for 1 minute, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the bacon-onion mixture over the beans and stir in the reserved bean cooking liquid. Cover the beans with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the maple syrup with the red wine vinegar and mustard. Arrange the remaining 8 bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet, and generously brush them with the maple syrup mixture. Bake the bacon in the same oven as the beans for about 15 minutes, basting 3 times and turning the bacon twice, until richly glazed. Transfer the bacon to a plate.

Carefully pour 1/3 cup of water onto the baking sheet and return it to the oven for about 3 minutes to dissolve the caramelized syrup. Uncover the beans and carefully stir in the syrup. Bake the beans, uncovered, for about 20 minutes longer, until the liquid has reduced by about one-fourth.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Top the beans with the glazed bacon and bake until browned, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead

The beans can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat, covered, in a 350° oven before proceeding.

Pasta con Fagioli

8 ounces campanelle or other short pasta
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 15½-ounce cans Roman beans (see note), drained but not rinsed
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 ounces Pecorino romano cheese, grated (1 cup)

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve 2 cups of cooking water, then drain and rinse with cold water until cool; set aside.

Wipe out the pot and return it medium-high. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil until barely smoking. Add the tomatoes, then cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and have burst, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, sliced fennel and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds and pepper flakes, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beans, broth and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. If needed, add the remaining reserved cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time to reach the proper consistency. Off heat, stir in the lemon zest and juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the cheese and additional oil for drizzling.

Chinese Pork Fried Rice

2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil) (*Footnote 1)
1 lbs (450 g) ground pork
3 tablespoons oyster sauce , separated
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 green onions , chopped
3 cloves garlic , minced
3 eggs , beaten
1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn)
3 cups leftover steamed rice
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ground pork. Stir and cook until browned, 2 minutes.

Add the green onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons oyster sauce. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the rice. Cook and stir to mix everything together. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and soy sauce. Stir to mix the sauce with the other ingredients.

Add the mixed vegetables. Stir everything together and cook until the vegetables defrost, 1 minute or so.

Move everything to one side of the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the other side of the pan. Add the beaten eggs. Let the bottom set for a couple seconds. Then scramble the eggs and use your spatula to cut them into small pieces. Then mix the eggs with the other ingredients.

Taste the rice and add salt to adjust the seasoning, if needed, then mix well again. If you like slightly crispy rice, let the rice sit on the hot pan for 20 to 30 without stirring.

Add the sesame oil and mix everything again. Transfer the fried rice onto serving plates.

Serve hot as a main or side dish.

Thai Pork Fried Rice

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon white sugar
4 cups cooked and chilled jasmine rice
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced, reserved separately
1 large shallot, minced (4 tablespoons)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sliced cucumber and lime wedges, to serve

In a bowl, stir together the fish sauce, soy sauce, water and sugar. Set aside. Use your hands to break up the rice so no clumps remain. Set aside.

Heat a wok over medium-high until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact, about 3 minutes. Swirl in the oil, then pour in the eggs. Cook, stirring, until just set. Transfer the eggs to a plate. Add the pancetta to the wok and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the plate with the eggs.

Return the wok to medium-high until just smoking. Add the scallion whites, shallot and garlic, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry until softened, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir-fry until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Stir the fish sauce mixture to recombine, then pour in a thin stream along the sides of the wok. Stir-fry until well mixed. Stir in the pancetta, egg (breaking up the egg) and cilantro. Transfer to a large platter and sprinkle with scallion greens. Serve with cucumber and lime wedges.

Thai Fried Rice with Nam Prik (Pao Sai Kai)

1/2 Pound Chicken, Thinly Sliced
1 Tablespoon Tapioca Flour
1 Tablespoon Golden Mountain Sauce

2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten, with a pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Garlic
5 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1/2 Onion Coarsely Sliced
1/4 Cup Sliced Fresh Serano or Thai chile peppers (seeds removed)
6 Cups Cooked Jasmine Rice (made the day before, left at room temp in rice cooker works best)
1 Tablespoon Golden Mountain Sauce
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoon Roasted Chile Paste (namprik pao)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1 1/2 Teaspoons Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Thai Pepper Powder
1/2 Cup Broccoli, Cut Into Small Florets
1 Tomato, Cut into Wedges
2 Tablespoons Green Onion, chopped

Toss chicken with tapioca flour and Golden Mountain sauce, and marinade for 10 minutes or a bit longer.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and let it cook, flip it over and with a spatula chop the egg up into smaller pieces. Transfer egg to a plate and set aside.

Heat remaining oil in wok, add garlic and saute until golden brown. Add chicken and stir-fry briefly over high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add onion, chile pepper, and brocoli. Stir well. In a separate bowl, pour the next 7 ingredients onto the cooked rice. Gently add all of that to the wok, and stir it carefully to avoid smashing or breaking the rice. Throughly mix everything. Add tomato, green onion, and egg, then stir fry for just a brief minute or two. Remove from heat. Serve garnished with sliced cucumber. Enjoy!