15 Jul2006


Pasta e fagioli is one of the most satisfying soups, and actually qualifies as a meal… Done properly it is thick and substantial, with the beans providing excellent protein, the pasta the carbohydrates and the broth and vegetables the liquid flavor vehicle. I actually like the soup better a day after it is made. fagioli2 There are lots of variations on this incredible staple of many Italian homes. At one restaurant in Florence during our recent trip, the version that emerged from the kitchen was creamy, very thick and almost with a tinge of green rather than a tomato-ey red tinge. Add on a drizzle of the finest green olive oil and parmigiano and it was nearly porridge like but incredibly satisfying. My wife is the pasta e fagioli expert in the family. .. and though she essentially uses Marcella Hazan’s recipe, it varies a bit every time depending on whether we have ham bones, prosciutto bones, porkchops, leftover pancetta, etc. which is the basis for the stock…

First simmer chopped onions, celery and carrots in olive oil until soft. Add a ham bone or pork chops (former is much tastier) and saute for 10 minutes or so. Add some cut up canned tomatoes (use less if you don’t want it so red, more if you are a tomato fan like I am) and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Add the borlotti beans (soaked overnight if dry), stir and cook for 5 minutes and add several cups of homemade fagioli3chicken broth (I cheat with canned low sodium broth fairly often) and let it bubble gently until the beans are soft. Remove ham or pork bones. Take maybe a cup of beans out of the soup and mash them up or blitz them in a blender and add them back into the soup…this step is essential if you want a creamy soup! Season with salt and pepper, but taste before you do this to ensure you get it right. Ham bones can be salty enough. Add more broth if it seems to get too thick, remember you have to add dry pasta to the soup which will suck up liquid. When the soup seems cooked, add small macaroni pasta (ideally, maltagliati if you have it) and as soon as it is cooked, turn of the flame and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving it with good olive oil and parmesan cheese on the side. With a nice crusty loaf of bread, this is ideal cold or rainy weather fare for Marketman & family! And it heats up superbly the following day as well!



  1. gonzo says:

    yes thats a great soup. i’ve only ever had it in italy though. in fact i like all bean or pulse soups/dishes: mongo, fabada, north american style bean soups, indian dahl, arabic ful, .

    Which reminds me, is it true that pinoys don’t like bean dishes? i’ve heard this many times from different people (all pinoy) but everyone i know seems to like beans.

    and MM, you mention a nice crusty loaf to go with the soup. out of curiosity, where do you get your crusty bread? i always seem to have a hard time finding decent bread here.

    Jul 15, 2006 | 8:02 pm


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  3. Doddie Householder says:

    Yehey, now I got a recipe to start on. Too bad I can’t find ham bones here, more or less promiscuitto, or other deli meats. Not unless I travel to Seoul (1 and half hours by bus – ugh!). But I am copying the recipe now and will def. try it soon.


    Jul 15, 2006 | 10:37 pm

  4. grace says:

    this really looks yummy! will have to try it. I’m in Beijing though and i don’t think i’ll find those borlotti beans here. what can I substitute for it?

    Jul 15, 2006 | 11:09 pm

  5. grace says:

    whoops! my bad, went right in and commented before i read your previous post. The beans are available here, I just didn’t know what they were.

    Jul 15, 2006 | 11:12 pm

  6. connie says:

    I absolutely love pasta e fagioli! I use ground beef, white and red beans and ditalini in mine though, trying to immitate the kind they serve at Olive Garden. LOL. I like mine a bit spicy too.

    Jul 16, 2006 | 7:04 am

  7. Marketman says:

    Gonzo, you are right, good bread is hard to find here. Sometimes, if I make pakiusap the guy at Le Coeur he cooks his baguette for an extra minute or two so it gets a little overdone and the crust is crisper. Otherwise the hotels like the Peninsula have more of the loave style breads that will have to do… grace, the white beans sold in the grocery work, but are a different quality all together…

    Jul 17, 2006 | 6:10 pm

  8. Doddie Householder says:


    I got borlotti beans!Tomorrow I will make Pasta e fagioli. I can’t wait to try it. It’s been raining here for more than a week. Tomorrow promises more rain. Perfect weather for your soup.


    Jul 17, 2006 | 7:18 pm

  9. erleen says:

    hahaha! Doddie, you got me laughing!

    promiscuitto – a promiscuous ham perhaps?

    seems perfect for a raniy day!

    Jul 18, 2006 | 11:08 am


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