Pasta Fagioli

This will be my second rendition of Pasta Fagioli, the classic pasta with beans. My earlier version is adapted from Domenica Marchetti‘s recipe.

Pasta Fagioli has a long tradition in Italy’s south and occupies a beloved space in the Cucina Povera tradition. On another note, Slow Food International has adopted beans as this year’s focus to go along with the Slow Beans focus. Check it out!

Pasta Fagioli

Here, I have visited the expertise of another favorite Italian chef, Stanley Tucci. His memoir, Taste, My Life Through Food, takes us on a marvelous culinary journey through his Italian American childhood, acting career, travels, and marriages with food at the absolute center. However, the chapter about his bout with tongue cancer brings home the role that food and taste play in our lives, and how to survive the loss of those precious gifts.

So as not to make a spoiler alert, suffice to say this dish, Stanley’s version of Pasta Fagioli helps his recovery and healing. It is a delicious recipe that includes marinara sauce and kale. Yes, kale. Trust me, it’s yummy!

Pasta Fagioli

Pasta Fagioli

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • ½ bunch Cavallo nero (kale), chopped roughly
  • 3 14 oz. cans cannolini beans
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2-3 cups marina sauce
  • 1 lb small pasta (ditali or gnocchetti sardi)
  • salt to taste
  • a few grinds black pepper
  • pecorino or parmigiana for serving optional


  • In a pot of salted water, blanch the kale for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
  • In a medium soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic, and saute until soft. Add beans, veg stock, and marinara, Mix well and simmer for about 5 minutes partially covered. Then add the kale and simmer gently partially covered for 15 minutes.
  • Boil pasta according to package directions. When done, drain but keep 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
  • For 4 servings: In a large bowl, add cooked pasta, 2 cups bean mixture, pasta water, and a drizzle of olive oil. Divide this between 4 bowls. Add more bean mixture as desired.
  • Top with a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and grated cheese if using.


Hint: Keeping the pasta separate from the marinara and bean mixture will prevent the pasta from getting soggy and engorged. 

2 thoughts

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Thanks for the great question. To be honest, you can simply use a 28-oz. can of whole tomatoes and then puree them. The dish will be just as flavorful. But to answer your question, I like the Barilla brand or any that are organic and just have tomatoes and maybe basil for flavor. I stay away from the ones with added sugar.
      I hope you love the recipe…. let me know how it turns out!

Your comments are always welcome!