Pasta e Fagioli with Borlotti Beans

Photo: Gabriela Herman
Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

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.


  • 2 ½ pounds large tomatoes (4 to 5), such as beefsteak

  • 1 ½ 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 ½ cup)

  • 1 medium carrot, diced (about ⅓ 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


  1. 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.)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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