Dinner Tonight: Bucatini ai Fagioli

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Dinner Tonight: Bucatini ai Fagioli

I'll rightly admit that pasta with beans—I tried tricking you with the Italian title "ai fagioli"—wasn't high on my list of delicious-sounding dishes. This recipe came from Diane Seed's The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces, and I have every reason to believe in the term. But come on, pasta with beans? So unbelievably boring, right? I couldn't figure out why I was making this. At least pasta with chickpeas attempted to add vegetables. But I had the beans, the pasta, and really didn't want to leave the house to buy anything with, you know, color.

Like pasta with potatoes, this combination works in mysterious ways. Because the beans are warmed for 10 minutes, they burst, and when mixed with the pasta, the insides coat each strand. That makes this a surprisingly luscious, opulent pasta. The herbs, garlic, and chili pepper certainly help. But the beans make this one hearty pasta despite the complete lack of meat.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.


  • 1/2 pound bucatini or spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup canned borlotti beans, or other white beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 handful of mixed herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary), chopped
  • 1 small dried red pepper, chopped
  • Parmesan, grated


  1. 1.

    In a large skillet over medium heat, pour in the olive oil. Add the garlic a handful of the mixed herbs. Cook for five minutes. Add the beans and chili pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it becomes too dry, add some of the pasta water.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Toss in the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the box.

  3. 3.

    When the pasta is done, transfer the skillet. Stir until well combined, adding a little pasta water if dry.

  4. 4.

    Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with parmesan, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

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