Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli, meaning ” pasta and beans “, is a traditional  Italian dish. It is often called pasta fasul (fazool) in North America, derived from its  Neapolitan name, pasta e fasule.

It also is well known from the Dean Martin song “That’s Amore” which includes the rhyme “When the stars make you drool, just like pasta fazool, that’s amore”.

Like many other Italian favourites, including pizza and polenta, it started as a  peasant dish, being composed of inexpensive ingredients.

  • If in the season I always use fresh tomatoes to chop, but good quality canned whole tomatoes, crushed, are great too;
  • I always add a pinch (o two) of wild Calabrese oregano to flavour the recipe;
  • You may add some pancetta or Nduja to give an extra kick to this simple and versatile dish;
  • My grandmother would use whatever short pasta she had around, including spaghetti broken into short pieces, but here I use ditalini

INGREDIENTS (for 2 people)

  • 1 can of Borlotti beans
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup of red wine
  • 1 canned plum tomatoes, crushed – or cherry tomatoes, are good too
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 lb. ditalini (some brand calls them “Tubetti”) pasta
  • Grated cheese
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional


  1. Put the pot over medium-low heat and add a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Add the chopped onions. After 1 minute glaze with red wine and cook, stirring until the onions are softened. Cover the pot to speed up the process being careful not to brown or burn the onions.
  2. Add the tomatoes and stir. Cover the pot, lifting the lid occasionally to stir until the tomatoes have fallen part and to make a thick sauce. Add oregano. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Bring to boil water and cook the pasta for the time indicated on the package stirring the pasta in the liquid frequently to avoid it from sticking.
    • Remember 1-litre water for every 100 grams of pasta and 1 tbs salt every 3 litres water.
  1. When pasta is cooked al dent, add drained and rinsed Borlotti beans to the pasta pot to warm them up.
  2. Drain and mix the “pasta and Fagioli” into the sauce. Add some water if too thick.
  3. Serve hot or at room temperature with a sprinkle of grated Pecorino cheese and some chilli flakes if you like it spicy.

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