A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 28, 2004
Pasta e Fagioli ("Pasta Fazool")
The next time you're at La Guardia airport, mention that someone, somewhere there, should serve this dish.

21 August 1937, Lima (Ohio) News, pg. 7, col. 3:
Goin' to town with MARK HELLINGER
...and Signor Pasta Fazool, who paints a heluva picture when he is not slinging hash in the studio commissary.

30 September 1937, New York Times, pf. 9:
They were amused by the final episode which shows the Mayor coming home after a hard day in CIty Hall and being greeted by Mrs. La Guardia. In response to her cheerful greeting, he complains that he is tired and slumps into an armchair.

"Guess what we're going to have for dinner,"she says.

"What?" he says.

"Pasta e fagioli (macaroni and beans)," she replies, and with a beaming smile he reaches up and pats her face.

26 January 1940, New York Daily Mirror, pg. 31, col. 1:
He is slipping like a fly in a glue pot and the sale of pasta fazoole in Naples.

15 January 1945, New York Times, pg. 12:
MAYOR MAKES PLEA
FOR PASTA FAGGIOLI

Bean Dish, Scorned by Rich,
Loved by Poor, is Healthful and Economical, He says

The mysteries of pasta faggioli - a dish disowned by many prosperous Italians, according to Mayor La Guardia, but loved by the poor and by Jimmy Durante, who calls it "pasta fazule" - were made public yesterday by the Mayor in an effort to win converts.In his regular Sunday broadcast over WNYC, the Mayor told how Mrs. LaGuardia was cooking up a pot of "special OPA pasta faggioli" at the Gracie Mansion, where they live. (...)

16 January 1945, New York Times, pg. 18 (Topics of The Times):
"Ordinarily," said the Mayor last Sunday, "with pasta faggioli you use a ham bone or a slice of ham or something like that, but that is just out of the question now."

18 January 1945, New York , pg. 22:
Beans a la Mayor

Mayor La Guardia's deiscussion on his Sunday broadcast of pasta fagioli, the Italian bean and spaghetti stew, has prompted readers to request a recipe for it. The proportions are indicated here, along with the general method the Mayor recommended:

PASTA FAGIOLI

Wash a cup of dried beans and soak overnight in two quarts water. Cube two ounces salt pork, saute till brown and add to beans. Add four chopped onions, a minced clove of garlic, a tablespoon salt, a fourth-teaspoon pepperand a bay leaf. Cook covered, two hours, or till beans are tender. Add a quart chopped escarole or celery leaves, and when boiling again, add a half-pound spaghetti, broken in one-inch pieces. Cook, stirring often, till leaves and spaghetti are just tender. If necessary, add more water. Serves six to eight. Dish should be stewlike in consistency.

8 April 1945, Los Angeles Times, pg. F16:
(By Clementine Paddleford, of the New York Herald Tribune - ed.)

MAYOR LA GUARDIA talks nutrition in a woman's own terms; he talks recipes. Speak of beans, a greedy glint lights his eye. He's thinking, you bet, of Pasta Faggioli, a dish of baritone flavors he loved as a boy and enjoys to this day when he dares break his diet.

Pasta Faggioli is an old Italian dish, its ingredients worthy substitutes for scarce meat and potatoes. Beans and noodles play hte lead roles, with just enough meat to give the mixture rich flavor. A balanced meal in a bowl, a meal to cook in one pot, the cost but a pittance, ingredients to serve six come aroun 70 cents.

In Italy rich man, poor man eat of the homely Pasta Faggioli. Our GI Joes fork it down in one or another of hits hald a hundred variations. Pasta Faggioli is a dish richly seasoned by long years of argument about its preparation.

Some insist that beans must be cooked with a ham bone laden with generous shreds of meat, Other favor salt pork or a square of fat bacon. It's a nice job tyurned out with escarole, but spinach, almost any green, can pinch hit. The recipe given here is from Mrs. La Guardia's kitchen, a wartime version of the dish using salt pork and onions in lieu of ham.

Pasta Faggioli

2 cups kidney beans
1/4 pound salt pork, diced
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 bunches escarole
1/2 pound noodles or macaroni, broken

Wash and pick over beans. Soak overnight in cold water. Drain and cover with two quarts of fresh water. Cube salt pork and saute with onions and garlic until golden, then add to the beans with the seasonings. Cover and simmer two hours or until the beans are almost tender. Add escarole, washed and chopped, and enough boiling water to cover. Next mix in the noodles, or use the macaroni, broken into inch lengths, and cook until the greens tender. At this point the noodles should be al dente, meaning cooked just sufficiently firm to be felt "under the tooth." Yield: six portions for six hungry men. The dish should be in stewlike consistency. Serve it in soup bowls with tablespoon and fork. Pass Italian bread sticks.

It's a meal, says His Honor, with a snort for our suggestion of a salad. But salad, we say. (...)

For dessert? "Prunes," says the Mayor. "Prunes are down to the budget."

21 May 1952, New York Herald Tribune, pg. 16, col. 6:

Pasta Fazool Makes Its Debut
At a Colony Restaurant Lunch,/i>

New Ossola Product Is Introduced at Event With
Mrs. Impellitteri Among Guests
By Clementine Paddleford

New York's Colony Restaurant, gathering place of socialites and notables, gourmets and potentates, is not a bit too sophisticated for the pasta fazool, Italy's dish of the masses. Pasta fazool was the honored repast at a luncheon there Monday when Mrs. Vincent Impellitteri, wife of the Mayor, and sixty food reporters of magazines, newspapers and radio were guests of the J. Ossola Co., packers of Torino food products...
(...)

SOUP OR MAIN DISH - Pasta fazool, the traditional macaroni and bean soup, was served as a soup course, to be eaten with spoon, but so thick it could have been lifted neatly with a fork. The Ossola recipe for this uses especially made macaroni of reduced calorie content combined with white beans, tomato paste, onions, imported Torino olive oil, butter, grated Parmesan cheese and a blending of spices. Heat and serve to use as soup, a vegetable or a main dish.
(...)

We have been on the telephone: Pasta Fazool sells one pound four ounces, 27 cents at the Dilbert chain, Roulston stores and King Kullen and at the Manganara Foods, Inc., 466 Ninth Ave.
Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, July 28, 2004 • Permalink