Last Updated on October 6, 2023
Inspired by the Italian soup “pasta fagioli”—or, as New Yorkers call it, pasta fazool–this recipe is not so much a soup as it is a very saucy pasta dish. The pasta, along with with beans and Italian sausage, are all coated in a buttery, spicy cherry tomato sauce. Let us tell you, this dish is comfort in a bowl.
It also showcases the versatility of ButcherBox’s mild Italian pork sausage. It’s fantastic on its own, simply cooked and served with a salad or sauteed vegetables. But in this recipe the sausage is cooked into small, crisp bits, adding loads of flavor and texture to the dish. Some of the spices in the sausage are also added to the sauce, amping up the flavor even more.
The recipe calls for white beans such as big butter beans or cannellini; feel free to swap in great northern or even chickpeas, if that’s what you have on hand. In high summer, when fresh and local tomatoes are widely available, use chopped heirloom or a mix of different tomatoes in place of the cherry tomatoes.
- 12 ounces egg noodles, such as pappardelle fresh or dried
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound ButcherBox Mild Italian Sausage defrosted
- 2 large shallots finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped Calabrian chilies fresh or jarred
- 2 tsp whole fennel seeds coarsely ground
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper plus more for serving
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 14-ounce can white beans, such as butter or cannellini drained and rinsed
- Chopped fresh oregano leaves for serving
- Bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package label instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sausage and use a wooden spoon to break the sausage up into very small crumbles (the smaller the better for saucier sauce). Cook, stirring regularly, until lightly golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the shallots are softened, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the Calabrian chilies, fennel, black pepper and tomato paste until the spices and tomato paste are evenly distributed, about 1 minute. Fold in the cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until they burst and the mixture becomes saucy, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, turn the heat to medium-low. Add the butter and beans; stir until the butter has melted and incorporated and the beans are warmed through. Add the pasta to the sauce and, in small splashes, add as much reserved pasta liquid as needed to reach a saucy consistency. Transfer to plates, sprinkle with oregano and more black pepper, if desired, and serve.
- To grind fennel seeds, you can use a mortar and pestle--but if you don't have one, place the seeds in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin. Alternatively, you can grind them in an electric coffee grinder.