Pasta and Beans – Made with Whole Wheat Penne and Prosciutto

Pasta and beans, or Pasta e Fagioli, is a staple in Italian cooking. Like many Italian dishes, it started as a peasant meal consisting of basic, widely available ingredients. I love cooking with both pasta and beans, so I enjoyed preparing a dish that combines the two. The result is a well rounded dish where the beans provide a good amount of protein to the pasta. Leave out the butter and prosciutto for an excellent vegan meal.

I used canned cannellini beans and penne pasta but feel free to use any kind of small pasta instead. A few slices of crispy prosciutto add more flavor and a dash or two of red pepper flakes provide some extra kick. Enjoy with a nice glass of Chianti or other medium-bodied Italian red wine. Buon appetito!

Cook the prosciutto until crisp and set aside. Saute onions and garlic, then add tomatoes and herbs.

Add the cannellini beans and simmer, then add prosciutto back to pot.

Stir in butter, then mix pasta into the sauce.

Penne Pasta with Cannellini Beans and Prosciutto Recipe

  • 2 cups penne pasta
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 slices of prosciutto, cut into small strips
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste

    Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Reserve about a 1/4 cup of pasta water for cooking at the end if the sauce needs more liquid.

    In a pan on medium heat, add the prosciutto strips and cook for about 2 minutes until crisp and set aside on a plate. Add onions and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and herbs and cook for 10 minutes. Add cannellini beans and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

    Stir in prosciutto and season with salt and pepper. Mix in butter and then the pasta. If it seems dry, just add some pasta water.

    Total Time: 40 minutes
    Yield: 4 servings
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    4 Responses to “Pasta and Beans – Made with Whole Wheat Penne and Prosciutto”

    1. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen November 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

      YUM! Love whole wheat pastas!

    2. Christine November 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

      Hey Barb, your Penne Pasta is a Recipe Guessing Game on Knapkins. Think your friends can win? http://knapkins.com/guess_games/816?source=blog

    3. Anna November 27, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

      Recipes like such remind me of mom’s cooking. Delicious, rich in flavor and hearty from the first spoonful to the last. This is a full meal in itself. Isn’t that great! Yeah, I think so too…Thanks for sharing.

    4. Barb November 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

      Thanks, everyone! Simple, rustic pasta dishes are my favorite. I almost exclusively use whole wheat for my pastas.

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