Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pasta e Fagiole Asciutta

Mmmm...Sunday night, cozy pasta, bottle of wine, crackling fire. Is there anything better at Christmastime? Allow me to get a little nerdy for a moment. This dish is traditionally called Pasta e Fagiole Asciutta. In Italy, every region of the country has a variation of the dish Pasta e Fagiole, or pasta and beans. In some places it is a soup, in others a rich stew, and in others a literal bowl of seasoned pasta and beans. It is one of the most distinctive geographical markers telling you in exactly what part of the country you are. In this case the word “asciutta” tells us that the beans are to be served as a sauce with the pasta, as opposed to a soup. Okay, enough with the linguistic lesson.

What gives this dish so much flavor are the tomatoes. I mentioned a few months ago that I baked a bunch of tomatoes and then put them in the freezer to punch up my winter food. These bright, juicy tomatoes infused with garlic and olive oil gave this dish an exquisite depth of flavor. The roundness of the white beans strikes the perfect balance for this pasta.

I had to take a picture of all these beautiful colors
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion diced
1 carrot diced
3 cups baked tomatoes (see recipe here)
1 can small white beans drained and rinsed
1 pound whole wheat penne
1/2 cup parsley chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the penne according to the directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 3 cups of pasta water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the carrot and onion and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juices and simmer for 10 minutes. Add half of the white beans. Mash the other half of the white beans into a paste and add to the sauce with 1 cup of the pasta water. Stir until the sauce is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the pasta to the sauce, adding more of the reserved water if necessary. Stir until the pasta is coated. Sprinkle the parsley over the top. Serve immediately.


  1. Sounds amazing, perfect for winter. Anything with beans and pasta in it sound perfect to me.

  2. Love this pasta dish! I just made some and it tastes terrific!