PALEO & WHOLE30 PASTA FAGIOLI

PALEO & WHOLE30 PASTA FAGIOLI
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PALEO & WHOLE30 PASTA FAGIOLI

How to make PALEO & WHOLE30 PASTA FAGIOLI

When writing my PALEO & WHOLE30 recipes for my columns and cookbooks, I often focus on the use of fresh and quality ingredients, organic if possible. But a recipe’s process is just as necessary. I love PALEO & WHOLE30 rustic, peasant Italian dishes for this reason. Traditional Italian cuisine uses fresh and few ingredients that are grown locally. The secret to this cuisine is that the cook prepares the local meals in a distinctive, time-honored way; preparations handed down from one generation to the next. It’s these preparations that transform an average dish into a spectacular one.

Case in point. In 1993, I experienced the most delicious Pasta Fagioli in a small Italian restaurant called The Wet Paint Café in downtown Toronto, owned by Chef Joe DiMaggio Jr.

Classically chefs prepare Pasta Fagioli as either a soup or entrée, depending on its thickness. Chef Joe’s version was a thicker entrée. He told me that the recipe had been handed down to him by his grandmother, who was born in Isoladel Femmira, Sicily, Italy.

I was blown away by this dish and by Chef Joe’s charismatic and down-to-earth style, his extensive culinary knowledge, and cooking abilities. I fell in love with Pasta Fagioli that day.

(For background, Chef Joe apprenticed under master chef & Michelin star recipient Jacque Maximan at the Hotel Negresco in Nice, France in 1979 and the Hotel Les Palmiers in Saint-Raphael Beach for two years. He also studied with Tokyo’s prominent Chef Kumagai Kihachi. Chef Joe went on to join the Culinary Design Association in Rome, Italy, under the guidance of Bruno Taglia, Mario Penne, and Aldo Del Bianco. From here, Chef Joe’s career soared in Europe, the Middle East, China, and Japan in the areas of restaurant concepts, designs, and menus.

For more than a decade, since tasting Chef Joe’s Pasta Fagioli for the first time, I’ve ordered this dish in restaurants, but nothing tastes as good. I have also attempted several recipes at home. None have possessed the texture, colour, or taste profile of Chef Joe’s masterpiece. I couldn’t figure out why. I was almost resigned to the idea that this dish was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

(Here is a video with my friend Joe talking about surviving massive heart damage.)

Among his many restaurants and businesses, Chef Joe owns and operates Cafe Barbosso in Florida.  https://www.cafebarbosso.com/

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0aSfBw9BCA] 

I had the luck of finding Chef Joe on Facebook. I was excited by the possibility of getting his Pasta Fagioli recipe. Fingers crossed, I contacted him. Some chefs defend family secrets with the butcher knife in hand. Not Chef Joe – he’s unlike most chefs. He’s a cool dude who appears as though he would have loved the 60s and Woodstock. His openness, generosity of spirit, and his knowledge are no doubt the cornerstones of his success. Without hesitation, he willingly shared his grandmother’s recipe.

As he dictated the recipe, I heard that magic process again – the process of exploding the garlic! I had forgotten that the most crucial element! I also then remembered him telling me how important it was to add the ingredients to the pan in a specific order, to obtain that outstanding texture, taste, and flavour. Chef Joe told me that it took him two years of experimenting and redevelopment of this recipe to master its taste profile and to get its preparation down to six minutes for restaurant timing.

I tried the recipe and loved exploding the garlic. The dish turned out to be a success…it was so simple to make. After a decade of dreaming and yearning, I had once again experienced that wonderful flavour of Chef Joe’s Pasta Fagioli. I used a wrought iron pan to explode the garlic; my sauté pan doesn’t get hot enough. I then transferred the simmering ingredients, after exploding the garlic, into a larger sauté pan to finish the preparation.

For a grain-free version, you can make fresh grain-free pasta with FRESH DOH grain and gluten-free fresh pasta dough mix. (See below)

RECIPE TASTE PROFILE

This dish has lots of tastes and flavours.  The prosciutto adds some saltiness.  The garlic is very predominant.  The soup itself is full of umami.  

DIRTY-BIRDY WINE PARTNER (FOR THOSE FOLLOWING DIRTY-PALEO AND DIRTY-WHOLE30)

Due to the lovely flavour of garlic and the density of the grain-free noodles, I highly recommend a full-bodied white wine to match, one with at least 13.5 % alcohol.  Choose a warm climate white with loads of alcohol to give the wine viscosity (ample weight and creamy texture) to stand up to the big flavours.  Full-bodied whites can be from a warm climate with higher alcohol and/or barrel fermented and aged, such as Chardonnay and Fume Blanc, Rhône Whites (Marsanne-Roussane), 

MAKING GRAIN-FREE NOODLES FOR THIS ITALIAN DISH

*I have included a recipe and instructional video below on how to make FRESH DOH grain and gluten-free fresh pasta.  FRESH DOH Grain and Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix requires water only and a few minutes to roll out the DOH and boil the noodles for 3 minutes.  Roll by hand, not with a pasta machine.  Remember, the noodles don’t have gluten elasticity!  Don’t roll them too thin or narrow.  They will break.  But if they do, no worries.  Broken noodles taste just as delicious.  The noodles are thick and chewy and ideal for this Japanese noodle cold salad. The noodles have their very own taste profile.  They resemble udon noodles and have that wonderful chewy density.   

I hope you enjoy this recipe using the FRESH DOH fresh pasta dough mix, available on Amazon in North America.  

https://freshdoh.com/fresh-doh-shop

Make noodles as per FRESH DOH Grain & Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix package directions. Boil noodles for 3 minutes. When noodles float to the water’s surface, drain and rinse under hot water. Coat with oil. Set aside.

SECRETS TO MAKING PERFECT DOH:

Follow package directions and always measure! When working with FRESH DOH think of yourself as a “baker”, not a cook. If you don’t measure exactly, you won’t get the right DOH results.

Grain and gluten-free dough (in general) is NOT FORGIVING like wheat dough. Why? Because gluten gives dough its elasticity and that’s why pizza makers can fling a pizza crust above their heads and catch it without any dough breakage.

Without gluten, grain-free DOH has little forgiveness. So follow the directions and refrain from rolling the DOH too thin. If the DOH is too thin you’ll have a challenge cutting and picking up the noodles without breaking them.  

The noodles expand in boiling water so cut them thinner than usual.

Make the other noodle shapes like rotini smaller than usual. They will also expand in size in boiling water.

Using a food processor or mixer (rather than by hand) makes the process of making the DOH easier, faster and better incorporated.

Be gentle in working with both raw and boiled noodles as they can easily break.

Even if noodles break, they are JUST as tasty. In fact, some dishes call for broken noodles! 

Here is a video to show you how the pasta is made:

Here is Chef Joe DiMaggio Jr.’s Exploding Garlic Pasta Fagioli recipe with my Paleo & Whole30 substitutions:

 

  • Author: FRESHDOH
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 12
  • Total Time: 22
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x
  • Category: PALEO & WHOLE30
  • Method: BOILING
  • Cuisine: DINNER
  • Diet: Gluten Free
Scale

Ingredients

Noodles:

1 teaspoon olive oil (to add to boiling water)

1 package of FRESH DOH Grain & Gluten Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix

1/2 cup of water plus 1 tablespoon of water at a time

Soup:

¼ cup olive oil blended with 2 tbsp avocado oil

15 cloves fresh garlic

½ cup chopped cooked Italian sausage 

¼ cup ripped basil

Hefty teaspoon chili flakes

1/8th cup dry sherry (optional)

2 cups raw cashews (substitute for white beans)

3.5 cups low sodium chicken bone broth 

1 cup chopped escarole (or any dark green leafy vegetable like black kale)

¼ cup crushed tomatoes, salt-free if possible

½ cup homemade Paleo & Whole30 vegan parmesan* (or grated vegan parmesan)**

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (as garnish)

Homemade Paleo & Whole30 vegan parmesan (for garnish)* (or grated vegan parmesan)**

*Check out this blog for the Paleo & Whole30 Vegan Parmesan recipe:

https://freshdoh.com/blogs/glutenandgrainfreelifestyle/paleo-whole30-vegan-parmesan

Instructions

To make noodles, make noodles as per FRESH DOH Grain & Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix package directions. Boil noodles for 3 minutes. When noodles float to the water’s surface, drain and rinse under hot water. Coat with oil. Set aside.

To make Pasta Fagioli, in a bowl, add prosciutto, basil, chili, and dry sherry. (If substituting with ground pork or sausage leave this until later) Toss together. Set aside. In a wrought iron pan on medium heat, heat oil mixture until smoking. Add garlic and watch carefully. When garlic turns light golden (the colour of peanuts), remove the pan from heat. Immediately, while oil is still very hot, add bowl ingredients. Quickly put the lid on the pan, as the oil will spit. Put the pan back on the burner and let the garlic explode like popcorn. Cook for one minute, shaking constantly.

Reduce heat to medium. Add cashews.  Add cooked sausage.  Add chicken stock. Add dark leafy greens.  Cook for one minute. Add marinara or crushed tomatoes. Add noodles.  Cook for three minutes. Divide into bowls. Drizzle each bowl with quality extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan. Serve hot.

I’ve added salt-free versions of some of the ingredients to keep the sodium low in this recipe.

Thank you Joe for your incredible recipe!

Notes

I have replaced the white beans with raw cashews.  The cashews give this soup the same “al dente” texture as the beans.  You can leave out the cashews if you want.

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