Pasta e Fagioli

Venetian Bean and Pasta Soup

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

Every region of Italy has a version of this old recipe containing the cheapest of ingredients: a handful of pasta, a few vegetables, a little fatty pork, beans and some good stock. It varies from one place to another, but is very much representative of the peasant style of cooking in the Veneto, which contrasts sharply with the elegant dishes of the aristocracy. Just as Tuscany favours the borlotto bean, the Veneto too has its favourite variety for this dish, the lamon bean, which may be hard to find outside of the region.

Ingredients

  • 300 g/11 oz/ cup dried beans, preferably lamon or borlotti, soaked overnight in cold water (alternatively, use 3 x 400 g/14 oz canned beans)
  • 50 ml/2 fl oz/¼ cup olive oil or 50 g/2 oz pork fat
  • 75 g/3 oz fatty pancetta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 litre/ pints/4 cups good meat stock
  • 150 g/5 oz tiny pasta (rice-grain size)
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

  1. Drain the beans, put them into a large pan and cover with plenty of water. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until tender. Drain.

  2. Heat the olive oil or pork fat in a large pan and add the pancetta, onion, carrot and celery. Gently fry together over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

  3. Add the drained beans to the pan and stir thoroughly. Add the stock and simmer slowly for 45-50 minutes, or until the beans are almost falling apart.

  4. Add the pasta and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
  5. Season the soup to taste with salt and ground black pepper, and serve warm.