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Pasta and Bean Soup

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Serves 10
Cook Time 1½ hours
Total Time 12 hours


This makes a large pot, perfect for tucking a container or two into the freezer. Just don’t add the pasta to the soup pot; instead, cook it separately and add it to the thawed soup. I adapted this Pasta e Fagioli from the Rogers & Gray Italian Country Cook Book.


cups borlotti (cranberry) beans
~ Extra-virgin olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
3 cups chopped celery, leaves included
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 small dried red chile pepper, crumbled (or 1 large pinch of red chile flakes)
1 large sprig rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
2 to 3 slices smoked bacon, diced
1 can (28 ounces) whole plum tomatoes, chopped, with juice
~ Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 oz. dried pasta (use any small shape, such as penne or orecchiette, that cups sauce well)
~ Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Soak the beans overnight in a large saucepan. When ready to cook, pour off the soaking liquid, then cover the beans with fresh water, 2 inches over the top of the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook partially covered just until the beans are done (tender but not mushy; cooking time will depend on your beans). Turn off the heat and set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Sauté the chopped onions, celery, and carrots over medium heat until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, chile pepper, rosemary, parsley, and bacon. Sauté, stirring, until the bacon is cooked through. Add the chopped tomatoes with their juice and continue cooking, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a blender purée half of the cooked beans with a little of the cooking liquid. Add this purée, along with the rest of the cooked beans, to the stockpot. Adjust the liquid — adding bean broth and/or water — to the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring a separate pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta — a handful per person if you are not serving the entire amount in one sitting — until al dente, following the package instructions. Drain.
  5. Serve by scooping a large spoonful of pasta into each bowl, then covering with soup. If you like, garnish each soup bowl with freshly grated Parmesan.


Read Carrie Floyd’s Kitchen Limbo column about planning meals around a pot of beans.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 4 comments on this item
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Average Rating 4
0% recommend this recipe
1. by redweather on Sep 24, 2009 at 10:01 AM PDT

i just made this with canned beans, (just skip step 1), and without bacon (i know, i missed it, but i’m a vegetarian now). It’s pretty good, but without the bacon, i think i should have added something else to give it more “oomph.” i’m open to suggestions - it’s just a bit bland - more pepper?

2. by redweather on Sep 25, 2009 at 9:25 AM PDT
Rating: four

perhaps it just needs more salt - i’ve just discovered that it’s marvelous on tortilla chips!

3. by Carrie Floyd on Sep 25, 2009 at 10:57 AM PDT

You can always do what I do when I make minestrone (a trick I learned from Marcella Hazan): Add a Parmesan rind--the end that is too hard to grate--to the soup while it simmers.

4. by Laura Parisi on Mar 8, 2012 at 6:28 PM PST

oooh! I grew up eating paste e fagioli AKA beans and pasta soup!

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