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Iris' Pasta Fantasia with Fresh Cannellini Beans and Olive Sauce


This dish is a fantasia, meaning that it is not a traditional Tuscan dish, but one that Iris created using the elements of Tuscan cooking -- in this case, cannellini beans. Iris makes pasta she calls straccetti with flour and eggs. The name, which means tatters or rags, comes from cutting the dough into irregular pieces.

Use the recipe in the "Pasta" section for Pappardelle to make the dough. Or buy packaged pappardelle noodles and break them up into rough 1-inch pieces.



20 black oil cured olives, pitted

4 large basil leaves

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 large clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Grinding black pepper

1/4 cup Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 recipe Pappardelle noodles

1/2 cup dried cannellini or Great White Northern Beans, soaked overnight in water


After rolling and cutting the dough into wide strips, use a knife and cut the strips crosswise into 1-inch pieces or into triangular pieces. Place the pieces on lightly floured towels and allow them to dry for about 1 hour before cooking. If you want to make and store the straccetti for future use, allow the pieces to dry until they are brittle, then store them in a sealed glass container and use up within 1 month.

Drain the water from the beans and put them in a small pot. Cover the beans with 2 cups of fresh water and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Cook until the skins easily slip off the beans. Drain, then set aside and keep warm.

Mince the olives, basil leaves, parsley leaves, pine nuts, and garlic together on a cutting board. Transfer the mixture to a large pasta bowl and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and stir in 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Add the straccetti and cook just until al dente. Drain off the water, reserving 2 tablespoons and transfer the straccetti and the reserved water to the bowl with the olive mixture. Stir in the beans, salt, pepper and olive oil. Serve at once.


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