(Inspired by a typical dish from Molise)

Molise is a tiny region of Italy, yet being Italy, even the tiniest region has a big culinary heritage, as witnessed by this bean and pasta stew. If you are not able to find the cazzarielli pasta, either make your own (in the recipe) or use store bought ditalini instead.

  Time: 50 minutes
  Difficulty: moderate
  Serves: 4


  • 400 g cazzarielli (typical pasta of the region)

  • 1 carrot, diced

  • 1 onion, diced

  • I celery stick, diced

  • I dried whole chili pepper, or pinch red pepper flakes, to taste

  • about 125 ml extra virgin olive oil

  • 500 g canned borlotti beans

  • 100 ml red wine (or stock instead)

  • 400 ml pureed tomatoes (passata)

  • salt to taste

  • water


[If you are making the cazzarielli by hand, knead all-purpose flour, water and salt until you get a compact and smooth dough. Then roll small pieces of dough to form sticks a little less thick than your little finger, which you will cut into small cubes of the same length.] Whichever pasta you are using: cazzarielli or ditalini, cook in rapidly salted boiling water until just al dente.

Sauté the carrot, onion, celery and chili pepper in a little bit of the extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes or until softened.

Pour in the wine or stock, let it evaporate, then add the pureed tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.

Stir in the beans and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes over low heat, adding a little boiling water if necessary.

Add the cooked pasta to the bean stew, warm through, and serve, drizzled with more extra virgin olive oil, as desired.