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Why a PINK chef's coat?

Simply put, I carry my Dad's legacy with me through my cookbook, cooking and everyday I am writing my food columns, he is always with me. I carry my Mom with me through a silent reminder of her struggle with breast cancer that took her life, as well as the lives of many other women who have dealt with, and are still dealing with, this horrible affliction. Besides, why not pink? It makes a man look good!

Garden Pasta E Fagioli

Often relagated as a poor man's dinner, Pasta Fagioli is just as delicious as any high-end recipe, especially using your favorite assortment of vegetables and any dry-aged ham you can get your hands on. I use turkey bacon because it isn't overly salty and it truly lets the beans shine without added fat. Using mashed beans instead of tomato paste also helps and I think you will agree that this Italian 'pasta and beans' dish is great all on it's own.

Ingredients

For 4 people

Recipe

  • 1 (14 ounce)can white beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 strips turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
  • 1 (28 ounce)can diced tomatoes, underained
  • 1 cup vegetable juice, such as V-8 brand
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked macaroni, drained
  • 1/2 cup cooked, sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon each red pepper flakes and oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried, crushed thyme and dried rosemary
  • Salt and black peppper to taste
  • 1/2 cup each shredded Parmesan and Cheddar cheese

Garden Pasta E Fagioli Directions

  1. Mash half the beans in a small bowl; set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium until hot. Add onion, turkey bacon and garlic, stirring to combine. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are soft. Add remainder of ingredients including whole and mashed beans and macaroni, but not the cheese. Stir very well, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  2. When ready to serve, divide equally among serving bowls, topped with cheese.
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