- 1 pound borlotti beans, soaked overnight
- 1/4 cup diced pancetta
- ½ pound ditali pasta or other small pasta, cooked al dente in salted water
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 4 plum tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon each dried oregano, basil, thyme, sage
- dash cayenne
- 4 cups chicken stock
- salt and pepper, to taste
- olive oil, for garnish
- for serving Parmesan or Pecorino Romano and red pepper flakes
Drain and rinse soaked beans and transfer to a large stockpot; add 3-4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and skim foam. Lower heat to bring to a slow boil and cook, partially covered, until tender, about 2 hours. Be sure to add plenty of extra water as the water will be incorporated with the stock into the final dish. Do not add salt until beans are cooked through.
When the beans are done, sauté pancetta in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and remove to drain on a paper towel. Reserve the fat rendered from the pancetta in the pan and add onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add tomatoes, garlic, spices, reserved pancetta, and 4 cups chicken stock and 1 cup of water from the cooked beans.
Use an immersion blender to puree about 85%. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and half of the pasta and add salt and pepper to taste. If preparing in advance, note that the pasta will quickly absorb the broth. Reserve some stock to add before serving.
Drizzle with olive oil and serve with Parmesan or Pecorino Romano and red pepper flakes.