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Begin this recipe a day ahead, as the beans need soaking overnight. Or, for a quicker version, use two tins of beans — borlotti or cannellini beans are suitable types. Rinse them well before use and add them in step 4, with the carrot, swede and potato.

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  • 200 g (7 oz/1 cup) dried borlotti beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 bacon rashers, chopped
  • 4 roma (plum) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2.25 litres (80 fl oz/9 cups) beef or vegetable stock
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) red wine
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 swede, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • 2 zucchini (courgettes) , halved and sliced
  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz/ 1/3 cup) fresh or frozen peas
  • 80 g (2 3/4 oz/1/2 cup) small macaroni
  • pesto and grated parmesan cheese (optional), to serve


1. Soak the borlotti beans in water overnight.

2. Drain and rinse the beans and place in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, stir, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain.

3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and bacon, stirring, until the onion is soft and the bacon is lightly browned.

4. Add the beans, tomato, parsley, stock and wine. Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours. Add the carrot, swede, potato and tomato paste, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the zucchini, macaroni and peas. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables and macaroni are tender. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve topped with a little pesto and grated parmesan cheese, if you like.

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  • Main Ingredients - Beans
  • Cuisine - Italian
  • Course - Starter/Entree
  • Occasion - Family meals


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