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COOKING WITH GALA

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PASTA FAGOLI

2 c dry beans or garbanzos
1/3 c olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
3 c fresh chopped tomatoes
3 oz tomato paste or chipped dried tomatoes
c fresh basil or parsley, chopped
Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
2 c ditalini or any small pasta
1 c grated Romano cheese
c chopped celery

Pick the beans over, wash and soak in water overnight. On the following day, bring the beans and water to a boil, then lower the temperature and simmer until tender. In a saucepan, cook the celery and onion until soft; add tomatoes, paste and seasonings. After 20 minutes add the fresh basil, then cook another 10 minutes. Cook pasta al dente, strain and place in a large serving bowl. Stir in beans and sauce gently. Sprinkle with cheese and more oil (if desired).

Variation: Add chopped spicy sausage, turkey, chicken or seasoned meat.