Pasta and beans, or Pasta e Fagioli, is a staple in Italian cooking. Like many Italian dishes, it started as a peasant meal consisting of basic, widely available ingredients. I love cooking with both pasta and beans, so I enjoyed preparing a dish that combines the two. The result is a well rounded dish where the beans provide a good amount of protein to the pasta. Leave out the butter and prosciutto for an excellent vegan meal.
I used canned cannellini beans and penne pasta but feel free to use any kind of small pasta instead. A few slices of crispy prosciutto add more flavor and a dash or two of red pepper flakes provide some extra kick. Enjoy with a nice glass of Chianti or other medium-bodied Italian red wine. Buon appetito!
Penne Pasta with Cannellini Beans and Prosciutto Recipe
2 cups penne pasta
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 slices of prosciutto, cut into small strips
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Reserve about a 1/4 cup of pasta water for cooking at the end if you sauce needs more liquid.
In a pan on medium heat, add the prosciutto strips and cook for about 2 minutes until crisp and set aside on a plate. Add onions and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and herbs and cook for 10 minutes. Add cannellini beans and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
Stir in prosciutto and season with salt and pepper. Mix in butter and then the pasta. If it seems dry, just add some pasta water.
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
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