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Pasta Sauce: Borlotti Bean & Tomato with Sage

Traditionally this is a summer sauce made when the borlotti beans & tomatoes are fresh but it's so heavy we prefer it in the fall and winter using our jarred tomatoes & frozen beans. Locals add pork ribs to the sauce adding extra flavor and resulting in a side dish of stewed meat! This is a stick to your ribs sauce perfect for a cold Sunday! Pairs great with any pasta shape/size but I prefer cavatelli for a full fledged nap inducing lunch!

Le Tagliatelle con i fagioli freschi
Borlotti & Tomato Sauce with Sage

serves 4+

2-3 handfuls of borlotti beans (preferrably fresh) dried
1 large jar or 2lbs/1 kilo of tomatoes, crushed, passed (seeded & skinned) or pureed
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 onion
5-6 pieces of bone (whatever type you like) I normally use pork ribs that the butcher cuts in half
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 clove of garlic
sprig of rosemary if you like
pasta of your choice
extra virgin olive oil for finishing the dish

This recipe calls for two pots: 1 for the beans, 2 for the tomato sauce. Make sure the pot for the tomato sauce is larger as we will add the beans into the sauce later in the recipe.

Place the beans (either fresh or dried & then soaked) and sage in a pot with plenty of water, in large pieces add: half the carrot, half the leg of celery & half the onion. Bring everything to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Allow to cook until the beans are tender. (Do NOT add salt during this process.)

Finely dice the other half of the celery, carrot & onion. In the larger pot, heat a few glugs of olive oil and add fine diced vegetables, along with the garlic & a little salt & pepper. Sweat 10-12 minutes on low-low heat or until very soft without browning.

Next, raise the heat, add in your bones and brown on all sides, keep ’em moving in the pot so they don’t burn.

Add in your tomatoes, rosemary and another leaf of sage if your feeling sporty. Bring up to a good simmer and then lower to a low slow simmer. Allow to simmer for 30-35 minutes until it reduces by about a third and becomes nice and thick. Stir it occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.

Now here’s where the magic happens. Remove the chunks of vegetables from the pot with beans. Add the cooked beans to the larger pot SAVING the bean water. Bring the tomatoes & beans up to a simmer, adding a little of the bean water to thin it out. Cook about 10 minutes on a low low simmer, adjusting with a little bean water if it seems too thick.

To serve; fish out the rosemary sprig, garlic clove & sage leaves if you can find them. Remove the meaty bones from the pot. (These can be served alongside the pasta or as another course entirely.) Adjust your seasoning with salt & pepper and toss with hot pasta. We pair it with tagliatelle or cavatelli and finish with a drizzle of good finishing oil - this is when you use the good stuff!


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