Beans are such an important food in the Italian countryside; and stews made from beans are able to stretch small amounts of meat; or made without meat, they offer a big hit of protein to a vegetarian diet.

  Time: 30 minutes
  Difficulty: easy
  Serves: 4


  • ½ onion, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 400 g pureed tomatoes (passata)

  • basil, parsley, as desired

  • small amount of any type of cured meat or poultry, chopped (optional)

  • 800 g canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • a sprig of rosemary

  • salt and pepper to taste


Lightly sauté the onion and garlic in a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil until softened, about 5-10 minutes, then add the tomato passata, basil and parsley, and if using, the cured meat or poultry.

Cook for about 10 minutes over a low to medium heat.

Add the beans and rosemary, heat together well, taste for salt and pepper and serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.