Pasta e Fagioli with Pancetta

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by | Updated: December 4th, 2016

Macaroni and cheese? Bean there, done that. For an exciting and gourmet Italian dining experience, add beans to your macaroni. Pasta e fagioli, a traditional Italian soup, literally translates as pasta and beans. Together, the two create a rich, cozy and filling dish. With added pancetta and fresh herbs for flavor, this recipe is a perfect main course for lunch or dinner when served alongside crusty bread and a green salad.

Pasta e Fagioli with Pancetta

Pasta e Fagioli with Pancetta


1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Cranberry Beans, sorted and rinsed
1 cup dry macaroni
3 oz. pancetta, chopped
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
2 tsp. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. oil
Parmesan cheese, for garnish


  1. In a large stock pot over medium heat, add oil. Once heated, add pancetta, onion and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until onion is soft.
  2. Add cranberry beans, red pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and chicken broth to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 60-90 minutes until beans have softened.
  3. Once beans have softened, remove the herbs and discard them.
  4. Scoop out 1 cup of bean mixture from pot. In a blender, blend mixture to puree. Set aside.
  5. Add macaroni to pot and increase heat to boil. Cook for 10 minutes, until pasta is soft.
  6. When macaroni is done, remove pot from heat. Stir in salt and pureed beans, and garnish with parmesan cheese.


  1. Pureeing the beans is not required, but adds a creamy consistency.
  2. To save time, use a pressure cooker to cook beans.
  3. To make vegetarian, leave out the pancetta and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Adjust seasonings and add more salt.
  4. To make gluten-free, chose a gluten-free macaroni.