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"16 Bean" Pasta e Fagioli

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 10 hr 10 min (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 4 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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1 (1-pound) bag 16 Bean Soup Mix

2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for serving

6 ounces pancetta, 1/4-inch-diced

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 cup dry red wine

4 to 6 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup miniature pasta, such as ditalini or tubettini

1/2 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

1 tablespoon good red wine vinegar

Julienned fresh basil leaves, for serving


  1. The day before you plan to make the soup, place the bean mix in a large bowl, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain the beans, rinse under cold running water, and drain again. Place the beans in a large pot with 8 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally and skim off any foam that rises to the top. The beans should be very tender and the skin will peel away when you blow on a bean.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium (10-inch) stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pancetta and onion and saute over medium to medium-high heat for 12 to 18 minutes, until browned. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for one minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, 4 cups of the chicken stock, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper and turn off the heat.
  3. Drain the beans and add two-thirds of them to the soup. Pass the remaining beans through a food mill, discarding the skins. Stir the bean puree and the pasta into the soup, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender. Add up to 2 more cups chicken stock if the soup is too thick. Stir in the Parmesan and the vinegar. Ladle the soup into large shallow bowls and add a swirl of olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and some basil. Serve hot with extra Parmesan on the side.
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