Pisarei e fasö is a typical dish from the province of Piacenza in Emilia-Romagna. Cristina from The Blog Around the Corner was inspired to blog about this dish from her region by my post about pasta with stewed beans. I already put it on my “to cook” list after reading Cristina’s post, but when Marina of Le Recette di Baccos blogged about it as well, I couldn’t wait any longer and had to try it. I’m glad that I did, because this dish is very tasty!
Pisarei are small gnocchi made of breadcrumbs, water and flour. Yes, this is a poor man’s dish that was created to use up leftover bread. The gnocchi should be small, about the same size as the beans. Fasö is the word in the local dialect of Piacenza for borlotti beans. The other ingredients are lard, tomatoes, and the holy trinity of carrot, onion, and celery. Cristina’s and Marina’s recipes are very similar. The only thing I’ve done differently is that I’ve used canned borlotti beans rather than cooking them myself. The main reason for that is that I could only find them canned, not dried.
Just like many other poor man’s dishes, this dish with humble ingredients is loaded with flavor and really worth trying. The one ingredient that may be difficult to find is lardo, Italian cured pork fatback. Lardo is usually cured with rosemary and salt. If you can’t find lardo, you could also use the fat from a thick slice of prosciutto.
150 grams (1 cup) flour
75 grams (2/3 cup) breadcrumbs, see below
about 120 ml (1/2 cup) water
1 can (400 grams/14 oz) borlotti beans
200 grams/7 oz peeled tomatoes (1/2 can), pureed in the food processor
50 grams (2 oz) lardo
1 small onion, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 small carrot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
freshly grated grana padano or parmigiano reggiano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
The breadcrumbs are a very important ingredient in this recipe. Do not use panko! Best is to use bread that is about a week old, and great it or use a food processor. In Italian, breadcrumbs are called pangrattato, which literally means grated bread.