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This is peasant food of the most warming and comforting kind. It is really a soup, but a particularly thick one. You will find as many different versions of this dish as there are types of pasta. In fact, I have seen this made with tagliatelle, bìgoli and penne, none of which seem right to me. I like the pasta to be roughly the same size as the beans. At POLPO we use macaroni and we finish with a little rosemary oil as an aromatic flourish.

+ Ingredients

500g dried borlotti beans
1 handful of rosemary
1 garlic clove, halved
1 onion, cut into wedges
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
200ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for beans
1 litre tomato sauce

150g small dried macaroni

+ Method

Soak the dried beans overnight in cold water. Rinse and drain the beans and place them in a large, heavy-based saucepan. add water to cover the beans by about 3cm and put in half the rosemary sprigs, 1 garlic half and the onion. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook until tender (probably about 45 minutes“1 hour) then drain, remove the garlic and onion and season while still warm. Add a nice splash of olive oil. Set aside.

To make the rosemary oil, chop the leaves from the rest of the rosemary as finely as possible, place them in a deep bowl with a pinch of salt and the remaining garlic half, finely chopped, and the olive oil. Combine and taste. Set aside.

Gently heat the tomato sauce in a separate pan while cooking the macaroni in plenty of salted water until they are just al dente. Drain the pasta, throw it into the heavy-bottomed pan with the beans and then add enough of the tomato sauce to the beans and cooked pasta to create a
thick soup. Check the seasoning and ladle into large soup bowls.

Spoon a little of the rosemary oil over each bowl of the thick soup before serving.

For six to eight