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PASTA E FAGIOLI (PASTA AND BEANS)

1 1/3 cups (1/2 lb) dried cannellini or Great Northern beans, or 2 16-oz
cans white beans
5 quarts water
1/2 pound ditalini (little thimbles)
1-1/2 tablespoons salt, plus salt to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 very large or 2 medium-sized onions, sliced paper-thin
freshly milled black pepper

If using dried beans, rinse them and pick them over and then
rehydrate and cook them; drain and set aside. If using canned beans,
drain them and then rinse and drain well again; set aside.

In a soup kettle, bring the water to a boil. Add the pasta and the
1-tablespoons salt. Stir and continue to cook over high heat until
the water returns to a boil, stirring frequently. When the pasta
is half-cooked (about 6 minutes), add the drained beans to the
pasta pot.

While the pasta and beans are cooking together, in a skillet over
medium heat, warm the oil. Add the rosemary and onion and saute
until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. When the pasta is al dente
(tender but quite firm to the bite), drain it, and, while it is
still dripping, transfer to a warmed serving bowl. Add the browned
onion and toss well. Sprinkle liberally with pepper to taste, and
add more salt if desired. Serve at once.

Serves 4.

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