Pasta e Fagiole

April 20, 2015
Author Notes

This is my mom's recipe for Pasta e Fagiole—she really made this her own and was known for this dish. It took years for me to pry the recipe from her—like so many cooks she really didn't write anything down. She dictated this to me all from memory so it took me several years to get it right, but my latest version was the closest I have ever gotten to my mom's fabulous recipe. —sdebrango

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 3 hours
  • Serves about 6
  • 1 1/4 cups dried white beans
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 piece salt pork (the size of a deck of cards, as my mom would say )optional if you can’t find salt pork you can use a ham hock
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • one 28 ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, blended until smooth
  • 4 to 5 basil leaves, divided
  • 28 ounces water (use the can the tomatoes came in to measure out)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked pasta of your choice (cooked al dente)
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese, to serve
In This Recipe
  1. In a large pot, bring the beans, smashed garlic, pork, and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for approximately 2 hours, until beans are tender. (I do not soak the beans overnight, but if you do, reduce cooking time by at least half.)
  2. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the olive oil, then add the minced garlic and shallots over medium heat. Cook until they are soft and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 3 basil leaves, and 28 ounces of water. Cook for 30 more minutes.
  3. Once the beans are cooked al dente, add both the beans and the water they cooked in to the tomato soup mixture. Simmer on low for 20 minutes. (The liquid will be thin—that is the way it's supposed to be.) Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Cook your pasta.
  4. Remove the salt pork and add the cooked pasta. Add in 2 or 3 additional torn basil leaves and simmer for about 5 minutes (this allows the noodles to soak up the wonderful flavor of the soup).
  5. Serve warm with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese.
  6. Note: You can add as much pasta as you like, but remember that it will expand in the soup and soak up the broth. Adding more noodles will lower the amount of broth you have, and you want to retain most of the broth.

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I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, am self taught learning as I go. I come from a large Italian family and food was at the center of almost every gathering. My grandfather made his own wine and I remember the barrels of wine in the cellar of my grandfathers home, I watched my mother and aunts making homemade pasta and remember how wonderful it was to sit down to a truly amazing dinner. Cooking for me is a way to express myself its my creative outlet. I enjoy making all types of food but especially enjoy baking, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I share my home with my two dogs Izzy and Nando. I like to collect cookbooks and scour magazines and newspapers for recipes. I hope one day to organize them.