3 gourmet Italian dishes using an ingredient that's probably already in your pantry

KELLY MCCARTHY
·4 min read

Classic Italian dishes can take humble, staple ingredients and transform them into a delicious restaurant-quality dish.

Chef David Nayfeld, who has worked in some of the world's most prestigious kitchens -- Joël Robuchon, Cru and Eleven Madison Park to name a few -- joined "GMA" to lend his culinary expertise for home cooks to add some finesse to a pantry staple: beans.

After working his way through Spain, Switzerland, Paris and London, Nayfeld returned home to San Francisco in 2018 to open his own restaurant, Che Fico, an Italian taverna with an approachable menu that focuses on Italian cuisine through a California lens.

Nayfeld, who is also a certified sommelier, shared three recipes below that are sure to evoke the smells and tastes of a rustic Italian kitchen.

Pasta fagioli

Directions

3 cups macaroni shells

2 spring onion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, sliced

2 carrots, chopped

1/4 cup pancetta, small diced

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 lemon peel, chopped

1 lemon, juiced

6 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cups cooked butter beans, in liquid

1 sprig thyme

1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add macaroni, cook, strain and set aside.

In a medium saute pan melt half of the butter and all of the extra virgin olive oil.

Add the pancetta and cook over medium heat until it starts to brown.

Add the spring onions and garlic and continue to cook over medium heat.

Once the alliums start to turn translucent, two to three minutes add the carrots and cook for an additional two minutes.

Add the lemon zest and thyme, stir to combine. Add the butter beans with their liquid and bring to a simmer.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente and add to the pan and continue to simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens and coats the noodles.

Off the heat stir in the lemon juice, remaining butter, chopped parsley, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Season with salt to taste.

Plate the pasta and top with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Italian butter beans

Ingredients

3 cups dried Italian butter beans

1 carrot, peeled, large dice

1 large rib of celery, diced

1/2 a large onion, diced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Soak beans overnight in water.

Discard the liquid you soaked the beans in and place carrot, celery, onion, and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie closed.

Add all ingredients to a pot and cover with four inches of water.

Simmer over low heat until tender, discard cheesecloth with aromatics and cool the beans.

Baked bean casserole

Ingredients

2 spring onions, sliced

3 garlic cloves, sliced

2 carrots chopped

1/4 cup pancetta, diced small

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 lemon peel chopped

1 lemon, juiced

6 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cups cooked Italian butter beans, in liquid

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1 cup crumbled feta

1/2 cup toasted sourdough breadcrumbs

Directions

In a medium sauté pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and all of the extra virgin olive oil.

Add the pancetta and cook over medium heat until it starts to brown.

Add the spring onions and garlic and continue to cook over medium heat.

Once the garlic and onions start to turn translucent, about two to three minutes, add the carrots and cook for an additional two minutes.

Add the lemon zest and thyme, stir to combine. Add the butter beans with their liquid and bring to a simmer.

Continue to simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens.

Off the heat stir in the lemon juice, remaining butter, and chopped parsley.

Season with salt to taste.

Pour the beans into an oven safe dish, top with the crumbled feta, and bread crumbs.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bubbly and hot.

Sausage and winter vegetable soup

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound fresh Italian sausage

2 cups red onion, small diced

4 minced garlic cloves

2 1/2 cups carrot, medium diced

1 1/2 cups celery, medium diced

2 cups potato, medium diced

3 cups rapini, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups savoy cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 lemon peeled and julienned

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 28 ounce canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes

2 cups cooked Italian butter beans, in liquid

1 quart chicken stock

4 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 lemon, juiced

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and sear until golden brown.

Add the red onion and sweat for five minutes, until translucent.Add the garlic and sweat for two minutes.

Add the carrot, celery, and potato and continue to cook over medium heat for five minutes.

Add the rapini and cabbage and cook until wilted.

Add the lemon peel and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the tomatoes, beans, and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

After 15 minutes, season the soup with the soup with the kosher salt and lemon juice.

3 gourmet Italian dishes using an ingredient that's probably already in your pantry originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com