Pasta e fagioli

Pasta e fagioli recipe with Primary Beans Cranberry beans


With as many variations as there are bean varieties, this Italian favorite is the perfect way to show off brothy beans in all their glory. Literally "pasta and beans," the only other ingredients you need are a handful of vegetables, good Parmesan, your best olive oil, and pancetta (optional). The addition of kale isn't traditional, but we added it to ours, because greens.

Which beans to use? Marcella Hazan prefers Cranberry (aka Borlotti), but Cannellini is perfectly acceptable. Use Chickpeas for a take on pasta e ceci. 


The details

  • Serves: 4
  • Time: 35 minutes (plus bean cooking)
  • Cookware: large sauté pan or skillet, bean cooking vessel of your choice


What you’ll need

The beans

  • ⅓ lb dried beans (makes ~2-⅓ cups cooked), flavored with 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ large white or yellow onion, ½ celery stalk, ½ carrot, 1 sprig rosemary, ½ coarse salt

The rest

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ large white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ½ carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2-3 slices of pancetta, cut into small cubes (optional)
  • ½ bunch lacinato kale, thick stems removed and sliced into ribbons (optional)
  • cup strained tomato puree (passata)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 175 g short tubular pasta, such as ditalini


    Prepare the beans: Cook beans according to our guide in the cooking vessel of your choice. Set beans aside in their broth.

    Sauté the ingredients: Heat oil in sauté pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Gently saute onion until golden, then add carrot and celery and sauté 5 minutes longer. Add pancetta (if using) and fry until it releases its fat. Add kale (if using) and cook until wilted. Stir in tomatoes. Season with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

    Add the beans: Scoop out a ladleful of beans and mash with a little of their broth to make a paste, then stir into the vegetable/pancetta mixture with all the whole beans and enough of the bean broth to make a creamy soup. Simmer gently for 15 minutes.

    Cook the pasta and assemble: Meanwhile, in another pot, cook pasta in salted boiling water until just al dente. Stir drained pasta into the vegetable/bean mixture. Add bean broth if necessary so that the consistency is like a creamy soup (and not a bean dip). Cover, take off the heat and let sit for five minutes. Season with salt and pepper before serving.


    We imagine this with…

    Lots of Parmesan, your best olive oil, and red chile flakes. 


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