Pasta e Fagioli
2 ea 12-14oz Ham Hocks
2 oz Pancetta- finely minced in a food processor
2 1/2 C Fresh Onion- finely minced
1 C Fresh Carrot- finely minced
1 C Fresh Celery- finely minced
5 Tbsp Spice Union French Chef's Blend
2 Tbsp Fresh Garlic- finely minced
2 Qt High quality chicken stock (we prefer homemade)
1 Bunch Escarole or Tuscan Kale- washed and roughly chopped
1 ea 14.5oz Can Peeled Diced Tomato- drained
1 ea 15oz Can Garbanzo Beans- drained and rinsed
1 ea 15oz Can Cannellini Beans- drained and rinsed
8 oz Small pasta (this can be small shells, elbows, ditalini or any pasta that easily fits on a spoon)
To Taste Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
Place the ham hocks into a sauce pot and add water to cover the ham hocks. Place the lid on the pot and set the sauce pot over a medium low heat and cook until the ham hocks are tender. When you insert a fork into the meat, the meat will easily twist off.
Remove the ham hocks from the water and set aside to cool. Do not throw away the cooking water, as this has great flavor and it will go into our Pasta e Fagioli.
In a cold, large Dutch oven, place the Pancetta. Set the heat to medium low and allow the Pancetta to cook until all the fat has rendered and the Pancetta is a deep chestnut color. Stir often as the Pancetta goes from ‘not there yet’ to burnt really quick.
Immediately add the onions, carrot, celery and the French Chef's Blend to the Dutch oven.
Continue to cook the vegetables until they take on a light brown color and you have sweated all the liquid from the vegetables. This will require attention as you will need to stir this frequently.
Add the garlic to the Dutch oven and cook for 1 minute.
Add the Escarole or kale to the Dutch oven and stir to incorporate the greens into the vegetables. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the greens have wilted.
Add the diced tomatoes to the Dutch oven and cook for 4-5 minutes or until some of the tomato water has evaporated.
Add the chicken stock and the water reserved from cooking the ham hocks to the Dutch oven. Place a lid on the Dutch oven and simmer for at least 1 hour.
Add the pasta to the Dutch oven and continue to cook until the pasta is al dente (cooked through, yet still firm).
Pick the meat from the ham hocks and break it up with your hands. Add the meat to the Dutch oven.
Add the Garbanzo beans and Cannellini beans to the Dutch oven. Stir to combine and cook until the beans are heated through.
Dish up the Pasta e Fagioli in large bowls and garnish with a 2-3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of high quality olive oil.