Pasta E Fagioli

Serves 4

This is a mixture between a soup and a bowl of pasta. The recipe might seem laborious and you might be tempted to speed the process up, but the trick to this soup is the length of time it takes to gently infuse all the flavours. I also make the base of this soup a couple of hours or a day in advance so the taste improves. Cook the pasta just before serving. Serve in unheated bowls so the temperature is more on the luke warm side for best results.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g diced pancetta
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 large red chilli, chopped [optional]
  • 250g cooked borlotti beans
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 100ml [4floz] red wine
  • 500ml [18floz] light chicken stock or water
  • 150g [5oz] small pasta shapes such as ditalini, mezze penne, tubetti or even macaroni
  • 50g [2oz] freshly grated parmesan, estate bottled extra virgin olive oil for serving


Place the oil in a large saucepan and cook the soffrito onion, celery and carrot on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes.

Add the pancetta and increase the heat slightly. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the pancetta is lightly sealed.

Add the garlic, rosemary and chilli, mix well and decrease the heat and cook a further few minutes.

Add the borlotti beans, season with salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the tomatoes, give them a good stir and cook for a further 15 minutes to reduce the liquid a little. Add the wine and cook briefly for 5 minutes, then check the vegetables are soft.

Remove about 1 cup of this base of the soup and puree, then return to the soup and give a good stir. If you have a hand blender then place in the soup and puree very briefly.

Up to this point the soup can be prepared in advance and finished off later.

Just before you wish to serve the soup add the chicken stock or water and bring the base of the soup to a boil. Add the pasta and season with a little extra salt.

Boil the pasta in the soup for the time recommended on the packet. Make sure you keep stirring the soup frequently as it can stick on the base of the saucepan and burn.

Once the pasta is just cooked and ‘al dente’, remove from the heat and leave to rest for five minutes before serving.

Before placing in the bowls, stir in half the parmesan and serve with the remaining parmesan scattered on top and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.