Wayne Johnson Prepares Comfort Food Italian Style

Italian comfort food to get you throug those cold months still to come

It’s still cold outside, so I think it is still the perfect time for more comfort food.  This time I thought I take an Italian approach.  This Pasta e Fagioli is easy to prepare and uses a combination of fresh and canned ingredients.  I’ve also provided details below on how to make it a bit lower in fat.

Pasta e Fagioli


2 oz Pancetta, chopped
1 tbl Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Celery Stalks, split and chopped
1 med Onion, chopped
1 tbl Fresh Rosemary, minced
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Head of Escarole, roughly chopped
1 Can Cannellini Beans (15oz size), rinsed and drained
1/3 cu Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz size)
3 cu Chicken Stock
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 lb Uncooked Ditalini Pasta
Parsley sprigs, for garnish
Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated, for garnish


In a large stockpot or saucepan, sauté pancetta over medium heat until brown.  If pancetta doesn’t render very much fat, add up to one tablespoon of olive oil and then add garlic, celery and onion.  Sauté ingredients for 8-10 minutes until onions are translucent.  Add rosemary, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir for about 1 minute.  Add escarole and stir while it wilts, about 2 minutes.  Add beans, parsley, tomatoes, chicken stock and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for about 20 minutes and then remove bay leaf.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta and add to the other ingredients.  Serve immediately in individual bowls and top with fresh parsley and parmegiano reggiano.

If you’d like a lighter version of this dish, eliminate the pancetta and use a fat free chicken stock or vegetable stock.

For questions or comments, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com.

Contact Us