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Pasta e Fagioli - Bean Soup

Anna Maria VolpiThis recipe has been reproduced with the kind permission of Anna Maria Volpi who has published her own book entitled The Timeless Art of Italian Cuisine. You can find out more about the book and how to order a copy from her web site <click here>

Anna Maria Volpi began her culinary education in her native Italy. While still a youngster, she learned how to prepare the traditional Roman dishes by her father, and Sicilian cuisine from her mother.

These early experiences inspired in her a deep love of Italian cooking. In a time when eating and cooking habits seem to change frequently, Anna Maria has dedicated herself to the rediscovery and preservation of authentic regional cooking through the study of its history and traditions, and by sharing her knowledge and skills with others.

She has taught traditional Italian home cooking in Los Angeles for more than ten years through group lessons, private classes, and special events. She is also an acclaimed guest instructor for the Williams-Sonoma chain of gourmet food and cooking stores, including their popular site in Beverly Hills, California.

After you try some of Anna Maria’s recipes, you will understand why her friends and family in Italy nicknamed her dolce forno (sweet oven) for her incomparable baking abilities.

To read more and obtain more recipes visit Anna’s web site <click here>


11 oz (approximately 300 gr) dry Borlotti beans
1 quarter gallon (approximately 1 liter) water
3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz (60 gr) un-smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
4 oz (100 gr) carrots, finely chopped
2 tbsps fresh ripe tomatoes finely diced, or tomato sauce
2 cups homemade broth, or one bouillon cube dissolved in 2 cups warm water
salt and pepper
5 oz (150 gr) short ditali pasta, or spaghetti broken in 1/2 inch (1-2 cm) pieces


  • Clean and wash the beans the night before, place them in a container, and cover with fresh water. Leave the beans in the water overnight. Drain the beans the next day, when you are ready to cook.
  • In a stockpot put water and beans, and boil for about 20 minutes or until the beans are tender.
  • Put in a stockpot the extra-virgin olive oil, and turn the heat to medium. Add the bacon, onion, celery, carrot, and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes, until the onion becomes soft. Stir in the tomato.
  • Mash approximately one third of the beans using a potato masher. Add the beans with their cooking water, the broth, and bring to boil. Salt lightly and add pepper to taste. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the ingredients are well blended.
  • Add the pasta and cook for the time indicated by the manufacturer, but taste frequently until pasta is al dente, (firm but not too soft or overcooked). Adjust the salt if necessary.
  • Place the soup in a bowl or single serving dishes. Add 1 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil on the soup if desired. Serve warm.

Serves 4

Anna Maria Volpi

© Anna Maria Volpi