Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

pasta e fagioli -- italian for beans and pasta

Recipe by
Tam D
The Dalles, OR

Many years ago, when we were newlyweds, my Italian husband asked for "Pasta Fazool". I had no idea what he was talking about, so I checked with his Mom and Noni... there was NO WAY I was making a concoction of macaroni with pork -n- beans! So I did some research, played around a bit, and produced this recipe I am very proud of. Last year my husband asked me to make it for his family reunion -- now that's success in my book! It may seem complicated, but it really isn't, I promise :)

yield 6 -10
prep time 1 Hr
cook time 30 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For pasta e fagioli -- italian for beans and pasta

  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1 lb
    dried cannellini beans
  • 2 Tbsp
    beef base or bouillon
  • 4 tsp
    dehydrated minced onion, divided
  • 4 tsp
    dehydrated minced garlic,divided
  • 1 lb
    italian style sausage, bulk or link
  • 2 can
    italian style stewed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c
  • 2-4 Tbsp
  • 2 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp
    dried parsley
  • 2 tsp
    salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1-2 c
    elbow macaroni or ditalini

How To Make pasta e fagioli -- italian for beans and pasta

  • 1
    Wash and sort the beans. Put the beans and beef base in a heavy 3 qt. sauce pan. Add 2 tsp. of the onion and 2 tsp. of the garlic. Cover with water. Stir.
  • 2
    Bring the beans to a boil, over medium-high heat. Boil one minute. Stir. Remove from heat, cover, set aside to soak for one hour.
  • 3
    After the beans have soaked for an hour, bring the pot back to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer beans 1-2 hours, until soft but still firm.
  • 4
    When the beans are nearly done, put on a pot of water for cooking the pasta. Put the sausage into a heavy 4 qt. dutch oven (if you have links, remove the skins). Break up the sausage, cooking over medium heat. If your sausage is dry/lean, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
  • 5
    Stir in the remaining 2 tsp. of garlic and 2 tsp. of onion. Add the seasonings, crushing the parsley and oregano in hand as they go into the pot.
  • 6
    Add the stewed tomatoes, breaking them up in your hand as they go into the pot. Then add the honey and molasses, stirring to combine thoroughly.
  • 7
    Bring the meat and tomato mixture to bubbling, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer 15 minutes.
  • 8
    While the meat mixture simmers, cook the pasta as directed on the package, with a little olive oil and salt.
  • 9
    Add the cooked and drained beans and pasta to the meat mixture. Stir gently until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Cover, and simmer another 15-30 minutes, on low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Serve with yummy bread of choice and a nice green salad.
  • 10
    NOTES: If you can't find cannellini beans, you may substitute great northern beans. You could use canned beans, but you won't get the same result. Ditalini is sometimes known as salad macaroni. We can't eat pork, so I use a nice Italian-style beef sausage (best), turkey or chicken in a pinch. When you add the beans and pasta, if the stew seems dry to you, or if you prefer more of a soup consistency, simply add a little of the bean cooking liquid, or some tomato juice or V-8, til it looks the way you like. My husband likes it thick, so I don't add anything. *You could use 1/2 c. dark corn syrup in a pinch, instead of the honey and molasses.