Pasta e Fagioli (pasta with beans) is a delicious, hearty soup well known in both Italy and North America. In the United States, it’s sometimes referred to as “pasta fazool,” carrying the southern Italian pronunciation of the first Italo-Americans.
Pasta e Fagioli represents a great example of Cucina Povera (cuisine of the poor), being a traditional dish made with simple and inexpensive ingredients. Many important Italian dishes belong to Cucina Povera (e.g. ‘polenta’, ‘osso buco’, ‘pasta cacio e pepe’) – nowadays they are no longer made out of necessity, they are rather considered sophisticated delicacies.
There are many ways to make Pasta e Fagioli, my favorite makes use a particular kind of small white beans called ‘cannellini’ and a short pasta called ‘ditalini’, ‘tubetti’, or ‘ditaloni’ (as in the featured picture). This recipe uses tomato sauce, but there are variations without it.
- 1 small carrot
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 can cannellini beans
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- 60 g ditalini pasta (3 handfuls)
- Finely chop carrot, celery, onion, garlic and rosemary.
- Make a 'soffritto' (stir fry in olive oil, at medium heat, until tender).
- Add the cannellini (drained and rinsed).
- Add the crushed tomatoes and the vegetable stock; adjust salt and pepper.
- Simmer for ½ hr.
- Add the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes (or the time indicated on the box).