Sunday lunch at Trattoria dai Mugnai in Monteveglio, a village outside of Bologna in the Valsamoggia region, is an intoxicating blend of history, pleasure, home-style food, family and hospitality. This is the essence of Emilia-Romagna—nobody ever asks about the “next big thing” in food, and why should they?

What they have already is deeply satisfying. As with many menus in the region, it is replete with tortellini, tagliatelle, farfalle, gramigna (a squiggly, candy cane-shaped pasta), bigoli (a thick spaghetti), cotoletta (a thin meat cutlet usually wrapped in prosciutto and napped with a Parmesan cream sauce), and various soups, pot roasts, vegetable plates and other dishes.

Stefano Parmeggiani and his wife, Serena, are consummate hosts, which you can tell just from their faces—smiles framed by round, ample cheeks and an effervescence in the eyes reminiscent of the local sparkling wine, pignoletto, which is quaffed even before lunch along with a strong caffè.

Stefano opened the restaurant in 2001 in a grain mill, which was owned by his father, Luigi, and was formerly outfitted as an oil mill and a cheese cave. The original building dates back to 1500; it was modified over the years, but by 1790, it was in its current form.

On this visit, it is the soup that caught my attention. Short, wide ribbons of fresh pasta floated like dumplings in a creamy bean puree subtly flavored with garlic and fresh herbs. It’s not a looker—it is the essence of rustic—and the marriage of beans and pasta is nothing new; I’ve even had this combination in northern Israel at a Palestinian table.

But this version seemed just right not only in texture but in flavor. It’s simple but it’s not; it surprises with every spoonful. Borlotti beans (also known as Roman beans or cranberry beans) are the most likely choice in Italy; we opted for canned beans to make this dish weeknight-friendly. If you have a rind of Parmesan, throw it into the soup during cooking for added depth; just don’t forget to remove it before puréeing in a blender.