“Sagne” are strips of pasta whose size is generally 6 mm in width and 6-8 cm in length and they are typical of Abruzzo’s culinary tradition. In the past, farmers considered egg pasta a specialty dish, prepared on special occasions and festivals . “Sagne e fagioli” was a poor man’s dish because sagne were made only with durum wheat semolina flour, water and salt, but they were cooked with beans which are rich in protein. “Pasta e fagioli” is made with a few ingredients but it is a very tasty dish, especially if it is accompanied by a spicy chili pepper and a good Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo wine.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HOMEMADE PASTA
600 g of durum wheat semolina flour
300 ml of water
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE SAUCE
600 g of fresh Borlotti beans (with the shell )
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices of onion
3 ripe tomatoes
1 stalk of celery
80 g of bacon
1-2 spicy chili pepper
Shell and wash the borlotti beans . Put them in a pan, add water and a slice of onion, carrot and a stalk of celery. When the water is hot add the salt . Cover the pot and cook for about 45 minutes. Try the beans to check when they are ready and season with salt. Drain the beans but don’t throw away the cooking water.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE SAGNE
Mound the flour on a kitchen work surface and make a well in the middle. Pour the water and a teaspoon of salt in the well. Begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. When all the water has been absorbed by the flour , start to knead with your hand . This is challenging work because the dough is quite hard to work and tends to crumble, but you pick up the little pieces of dough and with the help of a little bit of water incorporate them in the dough and work it with the palm of your hand until it becomes a cohesive mass.
Divide the dough into 6 pieces . Dust the work surface with flour. Take one piece of dough pushing down with the palm of your hand
Set roller of pasta machine at widest setting. Feed the dough through the roller, fold strip into thirds and continue feeding the strip in the widest settings until the dough is smooth and it has a perfect rectangular shape. Set roller of pasta machine at position n°2 feed the strip of dough through the pasta machine. Dust the work surface with flour and let the dough rest.
Process the other five pieces of dough in the same way as the first.
Let pasta strips dry for about 20 minutes.
Take a strip of dough and divide it into 3 lengthways. Dust them with flour and put the three strips on top of each other and cut the sagne from the shortest side . Size should be generally 1 cm in width and 6-8 cm in length, 1.5 mm thick.
Put sagne in a large tray dusted with flour
Bring the water to boil in a big pot to cook the pasta.
HOW TO MAKE THE SAUCE.
Wash and peel the tomatoes. Remove the seeds and cut the flesh into very small pieces in a bowl, add a pinch of salt.
Heat olive oil and garlic in a large saucepan, then add the bacon. Remove the bacon when it is crispy and add the onion.
From bowl of the tomatoes flesh, remove the excess of water and add the tomatoes to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the beans and a ladle of beans cooking water and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
When the water boils add the salt and put the pasta. Stir gently. Bring back to the boil for two minutes. Taste a piece of pasta to check if it is “ al dente”.
Drain the pasta and put it into the saucepan with the beans.
Add a ladle of cooking water from the beans. Cook and stir for a few minutes. You can adjust the consistency to your liking.
Add the crispy bacon and drizzle with a robust olive oil.
Serve not too hot with spicy chili pepper.