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Pasta E Fagioli

Asked by ampaxton. Answered on 21st July 2012

Full question

I'd like to adapt Nigella's recipe for Pasta e Fagioli for a slow cooker. I love my slow cooker as it allows me to multi-task while cooking. This recipe sounds fabulous but I am unsure if it is adaptable. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Our answer

It is possible to adapt the bean cooking part of Nigella's Pasta e Fagioli recipe (Nigella Bites p108-109) but you do need to make sure that the beans are soaked and boiled before they are put into the slow cooker.

Soak the beans in plenty of cold water for 6 hours, drain and tip them into a large saucepan. Cover with plenty of cold water and bring up to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat slightly and boil, or simmer very briskly, for 10 minutes. Drain the beans, rinse with cold water and add them to the slow cooker. Add the popsock of rosemary and onion and just cover the beans with hot water from a freshly boiled kettle. Cover and cook the beans in the slow cooker. We would suggest 8 hours on a low setting but please check the manufacturer's instructions for the heat seeting and timing of the beans as models do vary. Check the beans after around 4 hours and top up with a little extra hot water, if necessary. You can then finish the soup as described in the recipe. We would not suggest cooking the pasta in a slow cooker as the pasta can become too soft.

Do not skip the step of boiling the beans as beans contain some toxins which are removed by boiling. The toxins can result in a nasty tummy ache if the beans are not cooked properly.

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