Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)

  • Serves

    serves 4-6

The Italians love beans—both the legumes of the Old World, like chickpeas, favas, and lentils, and such New World-derived varieties as borlotti and cannellini. This famous dish is commonly made with borlotti beans, but cranberry beans work just as well.


  • 12 oz. dried borlotti or cranberry beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 oz. pancetta, minced
  • 1 12 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 12 stalk celery, minced
  • 3 sprigs parsley, trimmed and minced
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 oz. fettuccine, broken into small pieces


Step 1

Drain beans and put in a large heavy pot. Add pancetta, 1 cup of the olive oil, onions, celery, parsley, tomato paste, and 6½ cups cold water. Mince 1 clove of the garlic and 1 sprig of rosemary and add to pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 2 ½ hours.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat remaining ½ cup oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add sage, remaining 2 cloves garlic, and 1 sprig rosemary and cook until garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Remove sage, garlic, and rosemary from oil and discard, reserving flavored oil.

Step 3

Transfer half the soup to a food processor and purée until smooth. Stir back into pot, then stir in flavored oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Add pasta to soup and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil, if you like.

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