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tagliatelli with beans and pork skin
Tagliatelle with Beans and Pork Skin
Originated from: Casacalenda, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Mary Melfi (her mother's recipe)

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For Tagliatelle [See Everyday Pasta Dough Recipe]

4 cups flour
1 to 1 1/2 cup water

For sauce

2 cups dried white pea beans or white cannelloni beans
1/2 pound pork skin (without any fat attached to it, and preferably air-dried)
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 dry sweet red peppers, chopped or crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon hot red chillies (optional)
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt

Water for soaking beans and cooking them
Water for cooking pork skin
1/2 teaspoon salt (added to pork skin)
Water for cooking pasta
1 tablespoon salt (added to water when cooking pasta)


For Tagliatelle

1. Make everyday pasta dough [See recipe]

2. Cut into strips of dough, 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

For Beans and Pork Skin

1. Place dried beans in a large pot of cold water.

2. Pass running water on pork skin.

3. Drain and wipe excess water.

4. Salt pork skin.

5. Place salted pork skin in a separate pot of cold water.

6. Soak overnight (or 8 hours or so).

7. Drain beans.

8. Drain pork skin.

9. Version A ("The "traditional" way). Cook beans and pork skin in a large pot of water for about 40 minutes, or until the beans are soft and ready to eat.

9. Version B. Cook beans in one pot of water. Cook pork skin in a separate pot of water (The end result will be less "fatty" than cooking the beans and pork skin together) for about 40 minutes.

10. Drain beans and pork skin.

11. Cut pork skin in chunks -- about 1 inch wide by 1 1/2 inches long (The pieces don't have to be uniform in size).

12. Heat up olive oil.

13. Saute chopped onion and garlic until a light golden color.

14. Add pork skin pieces and continue frying for about another 3 to 4 minutes.

15. Add sweet red peppers.

16. Add beans.

17. Season with salt and hot chillies (if using).

To Prepare Pasta

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a tablespoon of salt.

2. Place home-made tagliatelle in the boiling water and cook until they are done (about 5 minutes).

3. Drain.

4. In a large bowl mix the tagliatelle and about 1/4 of the beans and pork.

5. Arrange in individual serving bowls, adding extra beans and pork skin pieces.

6. Garnish with parsley.

7. Serve warm.


Apparently, prior to World War II, beans and tagliatelle were considered "the food of poor." Adding pork skin to the dish elevated it and made it more appealing. This style of dish was very popular in the countryside. Back then pork meat was generally preserved by air-drying it, so possibly that's why the pork skin was boiled prior to frying it for this dish. In any case, I found the end result to be a bit disappointing (Too slimy!). Pork skin is not for everyone! Photo: Mary Melfi.

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