Green Pasta E Fagioli With Bowery Baby Rabe & Fennel

Hearty and vibrant—the perfect dish to keep the cold out.

Prep: 20 minutes | Cook: 60 minutes Serves 4-6

Warming and packed with flavor, this is our go to soup for chilly autumn nights.

  • 8 ounces white beans, such as cannellini or navy, rinsed and picked through
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 leeks, roots removed and halved lengthwise, rinsed well and chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 large bulb fennel (including any stalks or fronds), thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving, optional
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 large wedge parmesan cheese with rind, optional
  • 6 ounces small pasta, such as ditalini, shells, or elbow macaroni
  • 1 bunch parsley, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  • Bowery Baby Rabe, 1.5 oz
Make it vegan
For a vegan preparation, omit the parmesan cheese and rind.
Recipe Preparation
  1. Place the beans in a medium bowl and cover with filtered water by 2 inches. Transfer to the refrigerator and soak the beans overnight, or up to 12 hours. When you’re ready to cook, drain the water and rinse the beans.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat. Stir in the leeks, garlic, and half of the fennel (use any chopped firmer stalks if you have them here, save any fronds for later). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the leeks and fennel have softened and are starting to brown, about 6 to 10 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes if using and set aside the remaining half of the fennel and fronds.
  3. Thickly slice half of the lemon, remove any seeds, and chop it finely (yes, the peel, pith, and flesh!). Cut the remaining half of the lemon into wedges as set aside. Stir the chopped lemon half and the soaked beans into the pot. If using, cut off just the rind from the wedge of parmesan and toss that into the pot too. Season with a few big pinches of salt, more black pepper, and pour in 8 cups of water. Stir and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and partially cover the pot. Cook, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until the beans are fully cooked and creamy all the way through, about 1 to 3 hours depending on the bean size and age, adding more water to keep the beans submerged as needed.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a medium saucepan of well-salted boiling water until 3 minutes shy of al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  5. When the beans are cooked through, remove the parmesan rind from the soup and stir in the pasta and the reserved sliced fennel (hang onto the fronds for serving) and turn off the heat. If the soup is very thick, supplement with additional water until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Stir in the parsley and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top each with a handful of Bowery Baby Rabe and any fennel fronds—the Baby Rabe will start to wilt as it hits the hot soup. Shower each bowl of soup with grated parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and more black pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.