Pasta e Fagioli with Borlotti Beans
Pasta e fagioli is best served immediately, because otherwise the pasta will continue to cook and absorb liquid as it sits. To reheat, add up to 1 cup of water until it's thinned to the desired consistency, then gently warm over medium-low heat. Borlotti beans are also known as cranberry beans.
- Total Time:
- Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
Photography: Gabriela Herman
- 2 1/2 pounds large tomatoes (4 to 5), such as beefsteak
- 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh borlotti beans (from about 1 pound in the pod)
- Coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 celery stalk, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 medium carrot, diced (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3-inch-long piece Parmesan rind or 1 slice salami
- 3 sprigs basil
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup ditalini pasta
- Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, for serving
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Lightly score bottom of each tomato with an X, using a paring knife. Add tomatoes to boiling water and blanch until skin is pulling away, about 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel tomatoes and coarsely chop. (You should have about 5 cups.)
Place beans in a medium pot and cover with about 4 inches of water. Generously salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are creamy in the center, 40 to 45 minutes; drain.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden in places, about 5 minutes. Add Parmesan rind, tomatoes, and basil. Cook until tomato juices reduce and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and partially cover pot. Simmer soup 40 to 45 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, beans, and pasta; simmer until pasta is cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove basil sprigs and Parmesan rind. Serve with a drizzle of oil and grated cheese.