This classic Italian soup combines two of our favorite things—beans and pasta—in a rich broth, making it a complete meal. Smoky pancetta and bright tomato paste perfume the soup, thickened only by the beans and pasta cooked in it. Though it's typically made with ditalini pasta, we used small shells to scoop up all of the rich flavor, but feel free to use any small pasta your heart desires.
Soaking dried beans overnight is important so that they're nice and tender—but should you forget, you can do a quick soak. Bring the beans in a pot of cold water to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and let it sit for one hour. Drain the beans and continue with the recipe as is.
Pasta e FagioliRecipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus overnight soaking
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes, plus overnight soaking