For me, pasta is one of the ultimate comfort foods. There is really so much that one can do to make quick, easy, and flavorful pasta dishes using just a few simple ingredients.

I keep a variety of different pastas on hand to create fast meals at the end of the week when I’m running low on food and less inclined to go out to the store. This dish, like many in my kitchen creates itself from the leftovers and staples that I keep in my pantry. The beans are delicious addition to pasta, and are filling, which helps me avoid eating the whole box of pasta, something I have been known in the past to do.

Borlotti beans are a flavorful bean that go wonderfully in this dish. They are tan, with little reddish stripes on the side, and are used extensively in Italian cooking. If you can’t find borlotti beans, sometimes labeled as cranberry beans, you could substitute canellini beans or pinto beans. While you can use canned beans for convenience, using dried beans provides a lovelier texture and more robust flavor. I find that if I make a pot of beans over the weekend, I end up using them in all sorts of dishes.

You could just as easily substitute different meats for the salami, such as bacon, kielbasa, or another type of sausage. You could also add some freshly steamed or roasted vegetables in here if you have them, and cook them with the beans before adding the pasta.

This dish tastes equally good heated up the next day for lunch. That is, if there is any left.

Farfalle with Beans, Salami and Parmesan
2-4 servings


– 9 oz. farfalle pasta (bowtie shaped)
– 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1/4 pound genoa salami, chopped
– 1.5 cups cooked (or a 14 oz. can) borlotti beans,
– 2 Tablespoons butter
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus some to add at the table


To prep: Peel and chop your garlic cloves. You can smash them a bit with the heavy flat side of your knife to easily get the peel off before chopping. Don’t worry if you’ve smushed the garlic, it only enhances the flavor. Chop up your salami, I like it in small strips. Grate the parmesan.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season water with salt, and some dried oregano or herbes de provence.* Add pasta;  cook according to directions on the box to al dente. Do not overcook the pasta! Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and salami, and cook for five minutes. Add the Borlotti beans, and cook for another five minutes. Turn heat to low.

3. Add the pasta, the butter, and the reserved pasta water which will make a little bit of sauce. Turn off the heat, season with the salt and pepper, and toss with the parmesan.

4. Serve family style or in bowls, passing around the extra parmesan. It goes brilliantly with a simply dressed green salad.

*A tasty tip: dry pasta is often lacking in flavor. I like putting some herbs along with salt in my cooking water to give it an extra flavor boost while cooking. If you wanted, you could go even further and add a bouillon cube to the water.