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Milk Street Bowtie Pasta con Fagioli

Pasta con Fagioli

6 Servings

35 minutes

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We thought this rustic pasta and bean dish from Sicily would feel heavy, but the starches are lightened by tomatoes, rosemary and lemon. We were taught how to make it by Piera Ferruzza, winery cook at Cantina della Val di Suro, and Maria Enza Arena, shopkeeper in the hilltop town of Castelbuono. In Italy, dried borlotti beans (often called cranberry beans in the U.S.) are used. For weeknight ease, we opted for canned beans. Some producers label canned borlotti beans as “Roman beans.” If you cannot find them, use pink or kidney beans, which have a similar creaminess and mildly sweet flavor. Don't use cannellini beans, which are too tender. The pasta is boiled only until very slightly softened, then drained and rinsed to stop the cooking. It finishes cooking when combined with the beans and vegetables.

6

Servings

Tip

Don't rinse the canned beans after draining them; the starchy liquid clinging to them adds body to the sauce.

35 minutes

8 ounces campanelle or other short pasta
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 15½-ounce cans Roman beans (see note), drained but not rinsed
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 ounces Pecorino romano cheese, grated (1 cup)
Ingredients
  • 8

    ounces campanelle or other short pasta

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 5

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve

  • 2

    pints grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 1

    large red onion, chopped

  • 1

    large fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, minced

  • 1

    tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

  • 1

    teaspoon fennel seeds

  • ¾

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 2

    15½-ounce cans Roman beans (see note), drained but not rinsed

  • 2

    cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2

    teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2

    ounces Pecorino romano cheese, grated (1 cup)

Directions

Pasta con Fagioli

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Reviews
Jim C.
October 7, 2022
Spectacular and simple
This soup is so simple to make and packs a wallop of depth and flavor. The beans stayed perfectly in tact, and the lemon zest and juice provides a nice note of brightness to this dish, while the grated cheese provides some richness and salt. I made some minor changes that I'll share with you. I toasted the fennel seeds first, used a couple extra cloves of garlic, added some fresh cracked pepper and about 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Finally, I chopped some of the fennel fronds and tossed them into the soup with the lemon juice and zest. I also made this vegetarian by using low-sodium vegetable stock from Costco. Last addition I made was to toast some garlic bread and float it on the soup for some crunch. This is a soup I will make frequently. I can't wait to try it tomorrow to see how the flavors meld as another reviewer mentioned. Enjoy!
Maxine R.
October 5, 2022
Great!
This is one of my very favorite recipes from Milk Street! I use dried beans and pressure cook them instead of canned beans and it turns out great!
Michele R.

My hubby says don't tell his nonna - who spoke only Italian and did all the cooking in his family throughout his childhood - but this "pasta fazool" recipe produces a dish with brighter flavors than hers or many of the others he enjoyed at homes and restaurants in his childhood Italian community neighborhood. We cook our own beans and freeze them to use when needed so we had cranberry beans available and also homemade chicken stock. Both of which we think are really useful to create the best outcome here. The fresh cherry tomatoes are a delicious touch. We think we may try the Mutti brand canned cherry tomatoes sometime as substitute in this for those times when fresh aren't at hand. Keeper.

Sherry D.

What happens with the 2 cups of chicken stock????? No where in the directions is the stock called for?????

Lynn C.

Hi Sherry -

The chicken broth is added with the beans in Step 3. I've copied and pasted the language here, "Stir in the beans, broth and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes."

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Patrice M.

I made a half recipe and have been eating it for three days. The fennel seeds (plus the other seasonings) really add a subtle flavor that is appealing. And it’s actually better the next day.