One Pot Borlotti Bean and Pasta Stew With Butternut Squash and Sage Pesto (Pasta e Fagioli)
This classic Italian creamy pasta and bean soup/stew gets a Fall twist with butternut squash, borlotti beans, and a bright sage pesto, it’s perfect for those chilly autumn evenings. Fall is fast approaching - literally days away by the calendar but the temperature has been feeling fall-like for the last week or two. I am not looking forward to the drop in temps but I do love fall flavours and warm and cozy drinks and foods especially soups and stews.
A one pot wonder made from delicious Borlotti beans
This is one of these meals that warms the soul and fills the belly with all the nourishing veggies and pasta - it feels like comfort food but of the good kind. The kind you don’t have to detox after. Another great thing about it is that it all cooks in one pot. You don’t have to cook the pasta separately because you want the soup to thicken slightly and the pasta really helps that happen naturally as it cooks. The key to a good Pasta e fagioli — literally “pasta and beans” is the flavours the pasta is cooked in. The onions, garlic and veggies create the back bone of flavours along with the added herbs and seasoning. Traditionally some of the beans are puréed with some of the sauce to create an even creamier stew but I don’t usually do that - I think the stew is thick enough without having to purée any thing. The starch from the pasta cooking does it all. There are many variations of this dish and you can really make it your own by using what you have in the pantry when it comes to beans and in the fridge when it comes to herbs and veggies. Have fun with it and experiment.
I partnered up with GoGo Quinoa for his recipe and I really couldn’t wait to use their Organic Anelli Rice & Quinoa Vegetable & Turmeric blend pasta to make this classic Italian soup. This soup is usually made with short pasta and this was the perfect pasta shape for it. This gluten free bite sized pasta of premium quality is made with a blend of organic quinoa and white rice flour. It’s a tricolor pasta and the colours are obtained naturally from beets, spinach and turmeric. It’s the perfect addition to this soup and any soup and great as a pasta salad as well. It holds up really well and that is why I cooked it right in the soup as opposed to boiling it separately and adding it in to the soup after, although that is an option. If I can make any meal one-pan or pot I will and it worked well with this soup.
I wanted a Fall twist on this and got inspired by a Fine Cooking recipe that added butternut squash to this dish. I thought that was genius and loved that creamy sweetness is adds to this soup. I always love a nice pesto or herb sauce to go over a soup like this, and the same recipe called for a parsley and sage pesto. Sage goes so well with all the squashes and fall veggies and made for the perfect flavour addition to the overall dish. It’s simple to whip up in your food processor or mini chopper and worth the extra step to make because it’s just so delicious swirled in a big bowl of this soup! You will love it! I have partnered up with GoGo Quinoa to bring you this fabulous recipe, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Olive & Mango.
- Crushed tomatoes
- Salt & Pepper
- Assorted veggies
Substitutions & Additions
- Whole tomatoes for crushed or diced tomatoes
- Wine can be substituted with broth or omitted
- Borlotti beans can be replaced with any canned bean you prefer
- Any short pasta can be used
- For extra flavour pan fry chopped pancetta or bacon to start before adding the onions and veggies
- For extra flavour add a bay leaf and a Parmesan rind to the stew while it simmers
- Butternut squash for sweet potatoes or carrots or a combo of any other veggies.
- Sage for rosemary or any other herb you like- that goes for the parsley as well
For the soup
- 340 grams or 12 oz of short pasta - I used GoGo Quinoa Anelli Rice & Quinoa Pasta
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow small onion diced fine
- 2 stalks of celery chopped very fine
- 2-½ cups diced (½ to ¾ inch) butternut squash
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for serving
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ cup dry white wine (optional - could substitute with broth)
- 4 cups lower-salt vegetable broth, plus more if needed to thin out sauce
- 15-oz. can borlotti (or cranberry or Roman) beans, rinsed and drained*
- 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes with juice, crushed (I used whole baby tomatoes)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the pesto
- 1 packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2 to 3 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh sage
- 1 medium clove garlic, chopped
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
For the soup
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium heat and add the onion and celery, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the squash and stir to combine. Then add the aromatics, parsley, sage, garlic, and pepper flakes, if using, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost completely evaporated, about another minute.
- Add the broth, pasta beans, and tomatoes. Stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot, and simmer gently until the squash and pasta is tender, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir immediately with the pesto. As the soup sits it will thicken so if reheating you may need to add a little water to help thin it out.
For the pesto
- Place the parsley, sage, and garlic in a food processor. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with the oil.
- Pulse until finely chopped, adding more oil if necessary to thin out into more of a sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to a bowl and serve with the soup.
If using dried Borlotti beans, soak them in water overnight, then drain. Simmer them in a large pot of water over medium heat and cook for 45 minutes or until the beans are tender and cooked through. Feel free to add aromatics like thyme, rosemary or a bay leaf to the water if you would like. Once cooked, drain them and use them in this soup or any other recipe you would like.
Adapted From Fine Cooking