This video is unavailable because we were unable to load a message from our sponsors.

If you are using ad-blocking software, please disable it and reload the page.

Rachael makes a white version of the classic Italian pasta + bean soup (no tomatoes!) with pancetta and escarole, topped with grated Parm + a drizzle of fruity EVOO.

"I'm making the super-ist, simplest supper—say that ten times fast!—that my family not only loves, but pretty much demands all winter long: pasta and beans, or pasta e fagioli," Rach says. Unlike the red version, the white one doesn't include tomatoes, but both have lots of layers of flavor. If you're a vegetarian, you can skip the pancetta or guanciale and substitute vegetable stock or water for the chicken stock. And for a shortcut, use canned beans instead of dried.

For more recipes that use pasta and beans, check out Minestrone Soup with Escarole, Beans and Pasta and Riggies with Greens and Beans.


For the Beans: 
  • ½ pound dried barlotti beans or white beans, cooked* OR skip this process and use two 15-ounce cans of cannellini or pinto beans
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
For the Soup:
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • ⅓ pound pancetta or guanciale, finely chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and finely chopped 
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, stripped and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 chunk of rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano 
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups ditalini or other small pasta
  • 1 bunch escarole or stemmed chard, coarsely chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (about ⅛ teaspoon)   
  • 1 lemon
To Pass:
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Fancy EVOO, for drizzling (optional)
  • Minced raw white onion (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)


Serves: 4 to 6


*To cook borlotti or white beans, soak overnight, then drain and place in a pot. Cover with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil with halved onion and bay leaves. Season water with salt, reduce heat to keep at a low rolling boil and cook until just tender, about 40 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse. Remove onion and bay.

Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with EVOO and add pancetta. Stir for about 2 minutes, then add fennel, onions, celery, rosemary, salt, pepper and bay leaves and soften 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, add the rind, stock and 1 quart water and bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook 5 minutes. Add the beans, greens and nutmeg, cook 5 minutes more, then add juice of 1 lemon. Serve in shallow bowls and top with cheese.  We also top with fruity EVOO, minced white onion and red pepper flakes. 

Rachael Ray 6-Quart Covered Stockpot

Rachael Ray 6-Quart Covered Stockpot