Pasta e Fagioli


pasta e fagioli

There are very few dishes that I could say I would be happy to eat everyday – but this is one of them (and my 10-year-old would definitely agree!). Pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) is a traditional Italian dish with so many variations you could probably eat a different one for every meal for the rest of your life. Some versions are tomato based and some are soupy, but I prefer a chicken or vegetable stock base with a bit of tomato paste that is more of a pasta dish. It’s addictive, full of fibre, stick-to-your-ribs filling and the perfect uncomplicated weekday meal.

Pasta e Fagioli 

Adapted from the Cooking Channel’s David Rocco

For 4

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 or 4 thin slices of Italian deli meat, cut into small pieces (Try mortadella, prosciutto, pancetta, capocollo or even cooked deli ham with rosemary in it or black forest ham. Omit if you’re a vegetarian)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp. ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. Italian herb seasoning or ground rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (550 ml) can navy, cannellini, or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or more)
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 of a 454 g package (1/2 pound) of uncooked spaghetti, baby or small shells, ditalini or any kind of pasta you have on hand
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large, wide heavy-bottomed pot, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add the Italian deli meat and fry for a minute or two. Add the celery, carrots, and onion with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook until the onion is translucent.

Stir in the garlic, sage, thyme, Italian herb seasoning and bay leaf and cook for another minute. Add the white wine and cook for a few minutes while scraping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits.

Add beans and to give the finished sauce a thicker texture, mash some of the beans with the back of a fork.

Pour in the 5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock and stir in the tomato paste. Add the uncooked pasta. (If you are using spaghetti, break it up a bit first). Bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pasta should be al dente, and the sauce will have thickened but should still be a bit loose. You may need to stir in a bit more chicken or vegetable broth to loosen it. Remove & discard bay leaf and check for seasoning.

Serve each portion of your pasta e fagioli with a tiny drizzle of olive oil, a bit of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper on top.

pasta e fagioli


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