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Pasta e Fagioli (Italian pasta and beans)

Pasta e Fagioli (Italian pasta and beans)

I saw this dish on MasterChef, liked the sound of it, so looked up a recipe, tweaked it a tad, cooked it, loved it and here it is!

It is a simple, quick, inexpensive and tasty pasta stew which makes such a lovely dinner or lunch during the winter months. If you like the sound of it, follow the recipe and you will have 6-8 meals. If you want to include some meat in addition to the vegetables, beans and pasta, fry off some pancetta or bacon when cooking the onions, celery and carrots - here’s the recipe 

Please don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients!


4 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2-3 ribs celery, chopped

¾ teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1 can crushed tomatoes

4 cups/1 litre vegetable stock – you can use any form you like

3 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes – optional, I did use

2 cans (400 gms each) cannellini beans, butter beans, or chickpeas, rinsed and drained – I used cannellini

1 cup elbow or small shell pasta of choice – I used seashell pasta which you can buy at your supermarket

2 cups chopped kale (tough ribs removed first), or spinach

1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 medium lemon)

Grated parmesan cheese – how much you like! I used about half a cup

Optional – 80-100 gms pancetta or bacon


Cooking instructions

  1. In a large casserole dish, over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and some cracked pepper.
  2. Gently cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are turning translucent, about 6 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, stir, and cook until the tomatoes are bubbling all over. Add the stock, water, bay leaves, oregano, and chilli flakes.
  4. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. Take out about 1 1/2 cups of the soup (avoiding the bay leaves) and put in a blender or dish that you can use a hand blender. Add about 3/4 cup of the drained beans. Securely fasten the lid and blend until completely smooth. Pour the blended mixture back into the soup.
  6. Add the remaining beans, pasta, kale and parsley to the simmering soup. Continue cooking, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, for about 20 minutes, or until the pasta and greens are pleasantly tender.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat, then remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the lemon juice, the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste and season with more salt and pepper until you are happy with the flavours. Garnish bowls of soup as desired and serve.


Leftovers taste even better the next day. Allow leftover soup to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Or, freeze leftover soup in individual portions and defrost as necessary.

 You may need to add some stock or water on the second (and third) day as the pasta and beans may have absorbed some of the liquid

 Buon Appetito!


Serves 6-8