Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on her famous pasta e fagioli recipe, lending money, and setting boundaries.

on Jul 19, 2011

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Debbie from Lynchburg, OH says: Hi Caroline - I so admire you. I heard you mention pasta fagioli on one of the shows. My grandmother made it for me all the time. She passed away before I could get the recipe, and I was hoping maybe you would be kind enough to share yours.

Caroline says: Enjoy! 


3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves chunked
2 small celery ribs chopped
5/6 fresh plum tomatoes diced or 1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
Rind (about 2") from block of pecorino Romano or provolone cheese
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 16 oz. can cannellini beans with liquid
1 box ditalini or small shells pasta
*Optional - handful of diced pancetta

Put olive oil into the pan, along with celery, garlic cloves (and the optional pancetta). Sauté on a low to medium heat until garlic browns a bit and celery becomes transparent.

Add diced tomatoes, stir, and let simmer for about 15 minutes

Add cannellini beans with their water, chicken broth, and cheese rind and let simmer on medium heat for about 25 minutes. When cheese rind gets mushy remove from pot.

Put up water for pasta, add a pinch of salt, and when it comes to boil add pasta of choice. 

When pasta is cooked add it to bean broth, top with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste and grated cheese – DONE!