Make Erin Gleeson’s lemony pasta fagioli

This recipe from The Forest Feast Mediterranean cookbook is tart, refreshing and most importantly: filling

Make Erin Gleeson’s lemony pasta fagioli

Serves 2

Preparation time 5 minutes

Cooking time 20 minutes

Pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) is a common Italian food combination. It's usually made using white beans although you could use any kind to be honest. The beans add protein and make this a more filling dish while the lemon zest and rind add a unique flavour boost. It's hearty, refreshing and a makes for a great dinner or side. 


  • 2 lemons (1 for juice and zest)
  • 225g orecchiette pasta
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 435g cannellini beans
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper



  1. Very thinly slice 1 lemon into rounds (you can use a mandolin and leave peel on) and then into small triangles. Throw the triangles into a pot of boiling water and blanch for 2 mins. Remove with a slotted spoon. Keep the water boiling.
  2. Next add the orecchiette pasta to the water and boil according to package instructions (about 8 mins).
  3. While the pasta cooks, fry the blanched lemons in a skillet with butter and salt until golden (about 5 mins on med/low heat).
  4. When the pasta is done, turn the heat off and add can of drained cannellini beans to the pasta water (just to warm the beans). Strain the whole pot.
  5. Mix in a bowl the fried lemon, pasta, beans, parmesan, olive oil, juice and zest from the second lemon and salt and pepper.
  6. Serve right away with a bit more parmesan, salt and pepper on top, plus chilli oil, if you like it spicy. For a different twist, mix in sautéed greens, like chard, to the finished dish.


From Erin Gleeson’s The Forest Feast Mediterranean; photography by Erin Gleeson. Published by Abrams Books.