Cavatappi with White Beans and Tomatoes

Pasta e Fagioli Asciutta


This is a dish I had in Naples. Asciutta in Italian refers to pasta with sauce as opposed to soup, and this is similar to the classic pasta and bean soup except that it is prepared as a sauce.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 1 hour


  • ¼ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, finely diced
  • 1 ½ cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice, coarsely chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup canned cranberry or cannellinii beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 pound cavatappi
  • cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated


  1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and finely dice enough carrot to measure about ¼ cup. Peel the back of the celery to remove the tough strings and finely chop enough to measure about ¼ cup.
  2. Put the olive oil, butter and onion in a saucepan together with the onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté over medium heat until the vegetables begin to color. While the vegetables are Sautéing, dice the prosciutto. When the vegetables are ready, add the prosciutto and cook until it loses its raw color, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook until they are no longer watery and have separated from the oil, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat.
  4. Add the beans and ½ cup of water to the saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes. Scoop up about half of the beans and purée them through a food mill or in a food processor then return them to the pot. Add the parsley and cook for 2-3 more minutes. The sauce should be moist enough to pour out of a spoon while leaving a thick coating on it. If necessary add a little more water or cook a little longer if it is too watery.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, put in the cavatappi, and stir well. Cook until al dente then toss with the sauce and the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Grind a little fresh pepper and drizzle a little olive oil over each serving.

Also good with: