Nonna’s Pasta e Fagioli

Nothing beats Nonna’s cooking. A family favourite and a delicious dish to keep everyone warm on a chilly day. Pasta e fagioli means “pasta and beans” in Italian. This hearty vegetarian stew is full of irresistible fresh flavor. It’s vegan, too, as long as you don’t top it with cheese.


  • 500 gr dried borlotti beans
  • 6 cloves garlic (5 whole, and 1 grated)
  • 2 leafy sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 x 6 centimetres sprig fresh rosemary (needles finely chopped)
  • 200 gr ditalini or other small pasta tubes
  • 1 splash of extra virgin olive oil


  1. Put the borlotti beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let the beans soak overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  2. Drain the beans and tip them into a large saucepan. Using the flat side of a large knife, press down on the whole garlic cloves so that their papery skins tear and begin to come away. Peel them and chuck the bruised cloves on top of the beans.
  3. Add the sprigs of rosemary and cut-up onion. Cover everything generously with cold water, clamp on a lid and bring to the boil. Once it’s started boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for an hour.
  4. Check the beans to see how cooked they are and, only when they’re tender, add salt to taste.
  5. Remove a mugful of beans – or more if you want a very thick soup – and tip into a blender, along with a tablespoonful of tomato concentrate and 1 cup of the bean-cooking liquid.
  6. Add the 3 tablespoons of oil to a small saucepan and grate in the sixth clove of garlic. Cook over a low to medium heat until soft but not coloured and then stir in the finely chopped rosemary. Cook for another minute.
  7. Add the liquidised soup and cook for a minute or so, then tip into the large pan of beans. Bring back to the boil and add the ditalini, cooking them according to packet instructions. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

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