Pasta e fagioli al forno

  • Preparation Time25 mins
  • Cooking Time25 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyEasy
500g penne rigate or whole-wheat penne
125g pancetta, 3 to 4 slices thick cut like rasher bacon
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped
1 fresh bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (450g) tin small white beans "Roman" beans, such as Goya brand or, cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
125ml dry white wine
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. plain flour
500ml milk
Nutmeg, to taste
150g grated Romano
1) Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta to just shy of al dente. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

2) Chop the pancetta into 1/2cm cubes. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet over a medium to medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

3) Add the celery, carrot, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Saute the vegetables until tender, 6 to 7 minutes.

4) Add the beans and heat them through. Stir in 125ml wine, simmer 30 seconds more and then turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf.

5) While the vegetables cook, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg and reduce for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in half the grated cheese, turn off the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste.

6) Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Toss the pasta with the white bean topping and sauce, stirring to coat it fully. Transfer everything to a casserole dish, top with the remaining cheese and place in the oven to brown for 5 minutes.

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