This Italian Pasta with Beans and Sausage is based on a regional dish in the Umbria region of Italy called Gnocchetti alla Collescipolana! It’s a ‘Pasta e Fagioli’ recipe featuring onion, beans and sausage.
In that recipe, a regional pasta called gnocchetti is used. There are many varieties of pasta called gnocchetti throughout Italy, but this one is made with only 3 ingredients: flour, breadcrumbs and water! Gnocchetti literally means ‘little gnocchi’ in Italian, and these are gnocchi without potatoes.
Other Pastas You Can Use
Gnocchetti is really easy to make! However, if you don’t want to make fresh pasta with our gnocchetti recipe, you can use another type of store-bought dry pasta like ditalini. In fact, ditalini is a pasta commonly used for other pasta and beans (fagioli) recipes throughout Italy.
Watch our Video Recipes!
We don’t yet have the video recipe for this recipe on our channel! For now, you can watch the video recipe for Tortellini Bolognesi (narrated in English) from our YouTube Channel:
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel
More video recipes? Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (it’s FREE) and click the bell to get notifications when we release a new video recipe!
Italian Pasta with Beans and Sausage: The Sauce
Do not use so-called ‘Italian’ sausage for this recipe. The sausage labelled ‘Italian’ abroad is heavy in fennel. This is not common or popular in the vast majority of Italy and is almost never the kind of sausage expected in traditional Italian recipes like this one.
Instead, choose something closer to a German style sausage—a sausage with wine, garlic and salt and pepper.
Fry the Sausage
Remove the sausage from the casings and crumble it in to a pan. You won’t need any additional oil as the sausage will release its own fat. If you like, you can fry some pancetta (cured pork belly) with the sausage as well.
Cook the sausage over medium heat until browned. The sausage will take longer to brown, but will remain tender inside. Set the sausage aside.
Make a Soffritto
Like many authentic Italian pasta recipes, the sauce for this recipe requires a soffritto. A soffritto is the process of infusing a fat (like olive oil) with aromatics— often a combination of garlic, onion, celery and carrot.
Cover a large pan or skillet with olive oil, over medium heat. Add the minced celery, carrot and onion and sauté them in the olive oil until the onion is tender and translucent.
De-glaze the pan with a bit of white wine and let the wine evaporate.
Make the Pasta e Fagioli Sauce
Add the beans (with liquid from the can) and tomato puree to the sautéed vegetables. Cook covered over medium heat for about 10 minutes to let the flavors combine. Add salt and red pepper to taste.
At this point, we like to blend a quarter of the sauce to a purée, then return it to the sauce. Try to pull in equal portions of everything (beans, veggies, tomato sauce). Use a blender, food processor or immersion blender for this job.
Stir the fried sausage into the sauce, then simmer the sauce for about an hour to reduce it. Add water or broth from time to time if needed. The result will be a lovely, dense sauce.
When the sauce is ready, boil the pasta of your choice.
Boil the gnocchetti in salted water until they float to the surface—4-6 minutes. Buon appetito!
Based on the traditional recipe for Gnocchetti alla Collescipolana.
Authentic Italian Pasta with Beans and Sausage | Pasta e Fagioli Recipe
- 1 skillet
- 1 large sauce pan or skillet
- 1 immersion blender (optional)—or blender, food processor
Gnocchetti Pasta (Optional) — Or Pasta for 4
- 1 ½ cups flour all purpose or pasta
- 1 cup fine breadcrumbs unseasoned
- 1 cup water warm
- 1 carrot medium; minced
- 3 ribs celery minced
- 1 onion minced
- 2 sausages crumbled (casings removed) — NOT 'Italian sausage' but something closer to a German sausage (see notes)
- ¾ cup white wine dry
- 2 cups tomato puree
- 15 oz beans with liquid borlotti or pinto
- 1 pinch chili pepper flakes or to taste
- ½ tsp fine salt or to taste
- ½ cup olive oil extra virgin — or as needed
- 10 tbsp pecorino cheese (optional)
- 300 g ditalini (optional) or another short tube pasta—if you are not making the fresh gnocchetti pasta
Make the Gnocchetti Pasta (Optional)
- See our gnocchetti recipe to learn how to make the fresh pasta for this recipe!1 ½ cups flour, 1 cup water, 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
Fry the Sausage
- Fry the crumbled sausage over medium heat in a skillet (casings removed). You won't need any additional oil as the sausage will release its own fat. If you like, you can fry some pancetta (cured pork belly) with the sausage as well.2 sausages
- Once the sausage is browned, set it aside.
Sauté the Vegetables
- Cover a large pan or skillet with olive oil, over medium heat.½ cup olive oil
- Add the minced celery, carrot and onion and sauté them in the olive oil until the onion is tender and translucent.1 carrot, 1 onion, 3 ribs celery
- Add the white wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. This de-glazes the pan, pulling all of that fat and flavor off of the bottom of the pan and into the sauce.¾ cup white wine
Make the Sauce
- Add the beans (with liquid from the can) and tomato puree to the sautéed vegetables.15 oz beans with liquid, 2 cups tomato puree
- Simmer (covered) over medium heat for about 10 minutes to let the flavors combine. Add salt and red pepper to taste.½ tsp fine salt, 1 pinch chili pepper flakes
- Blend a ¼ of the sauce to a purée, then return it to the sauce— including roughly equal portions of everything (beans, veggies, liquid). Use a blender, food processor or immersion blender for this job.
- Stir the fried sausage into the sauce.
- Simmer the sauce for about an hour to reduce it, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a bit of extra water if needed to prevent the sauce from becoming too thick and dense.
Finish with Pasta
- Cook the pasta of your choice (gnocchetti or ditalini) in salted, boiling water until the pasta is al dente.If cooking fresh gnocchetti pasta, cook them until they float to the surface—4-6 minutes. Combine the pasta with the bean sauce. Top with pecorino cheese (optional) and .. Buon appetito!300 g ditalini, 10 tbsp pecorino cheese