Pasta e Fagioli al Forno

Total Time:
50 min
25 min
25 min

6 servings

  • Salt
  • 1 pound penne rigate or whole-wheat penne
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, 3 to 4 slices thick cut like bacon
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can small white beans "Roman" beans, such as Goya brand or, cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Romano
  • Pasta e Fagioli is a dish I keep revisiting trying to play around with methods for it so I can keep making it new to me. Here, the classic soup turns into a baked pasta dish. Loosen your belts and open wide. Have your blankies ready for a family nap.

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, cook pasta to just shy of al dente.

  • Chop pancetta into 1/4-inch dice.

  • While pasta cooks, heat a skillet with olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add pancetta, cook 2 to 3 minutes then add celery, carrot, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf to the skillet, season with salt and pepper. Saute the vegetables until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add beans and heat them through. Stir in 1/2 cup wine, simmer 30 seconds more and turn off heat. Remove bay leaf.

  • While vegetables cook, place a small sauce pot over medium heat, add butter, melt butter then whisk in flour and cook 1 minute then whisk in milk. Season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg and reduce 4 to 5 minutes, stir in half the grated cheese, turn off heat and adjust seasoning.

  • While sauce cooks, place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat broiler to high.

  • Drain pasta and return to the pot, toss with white bean mixture and sauce, stir to coat, transfer to a casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and place in oven to brown, 5 minutes.

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