Recipe by Ursula Ferrigno

Pasta and Beans (Pasta E Fagioli)

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Dairy Dairy
Easy Easy
6 Servings

This famous soup must, according to my grandmother, be served hot with a ‘C’ of extra virgin olive oil trickled over the surface. Foolishly, I never found out why! The original recipe advises cooking the beans in an earthenware pot in a slow oven for 3 hours. I find, however, that excellent results are obtained if the recipe is streamlined and adapted to modern rhythms: cooked and ready to serve in an hour and a half. Italian soups are not as liquid as those elsewhere, so don’t worry if it looks a little thick.

A high-carbohydrate and high-energy dish, especially perfect for winter, it uses virtually no oil. Other pulses/legumes could be used in this recipe in place of the cannellini beans. It’s so versatile, you’ll soon be able to put your own stamp on the recipe.


Pasta and Beans (Pasta E Fagioli)

  • 300 grams/11 ounces dried cannellini beans, or 800 grams/28 ounces cooked beans, such as Tuscanini

  • 1 sage sprig

  • 1 rosemary sprig

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or 1 cube Gefen Frozen Garlic

  • dried chilli/hot red pepper flakes, to taste

To Serve



Soak the dried beans in water for 24 hours. Drain, cover with fresh water and a lid and bring to the boil for 10 minutes. Thereafter, cook over a gentle heat for 40 minutes, along with the herbs and garlic to lend flavor and aroma.


If using canned beans, simply drain and rinse, add the herbs and garlic, then just cover with cold water and heat through for about 20 minutes. Top up with more water as necessary.


Push the beans and liquid through a sieve/strainer to eliminate the tough outer husks, then place the purée in a saucepan. Season with salt and pepper and a little pinch of chilli flakes to taste.


Add the pasta to the bean purée with four tablespoons water and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta sticking, until the pasta is cooked to your liking.


To serve, drizzle the hot soup with extra virgin olive oil and scatter over Parmesan to taste.


Pasta cooking time can be affected by so many things – the size of pan you use, quality of pan you use, how vigorously the water is boiling, how much salt you have added, type and quality of pasta used – so I always say it is best to regularly check your pasta as it is cooking until it reaches the perfect level of doneness, rather than giving a firm time to follow.


From Cucina del Veneto: Delicious Recipes from Venice & Northeast Italy by Ursula Ferrigno, published by Ryland Peters & Small

Photographs by Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small 2024

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Pasta and Beans (Pasta E Fagioli)

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