Spring 2024

Pasta and Beans – The Comfort Bowl By Kitty Coles

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Serving: 4 people


3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 sprig rosemary or thyme, leaves picked

Pinch of chilli (hot pepper) flakes

2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)

1 x 400g (14 oz) tin of beans, such as cannellini, chickpeas or butter beans.

1 litre (34 fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock

200g (7 oz) pasta, such as casarecce, macaroni or rigatoni

50g pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated

Maldon Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the flavoured oil topping:

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 sprigs of rosemary, stems removed

Pinch of chilli (hot pepper flakes)

Juice of 1/2 lemon


This is an all-year-round one-pot meal that makes the most of your store cupboard. It’s a classic Italian dish made in various ways and we love it every time. You can bulk it out by frying off finely chopped onions, celery and carrots at the start with the garlic until soft for a more veg-packed version. Kitty also throws in a handful of shredded seasonal greens at the end to wilt, such as spinach, cavolo nero (lacinato kale) or kale. Use any pasta or bean type you have!

Here is how to make pasta and beans

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the garlic and rosemary before the oil is hot to prevent the herbs burning. Season with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes until the garlic softens and turns very lightly golden. Add the chilli flakes and tomato puree, then continue to cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and the tomato puree turns a dark red.
  2. Add one-quarter of the beans with the liquid from the jar or tin (or 150 ml/5 fl oz/scant ⅔ cup of liquid if using beans for the week). Then, with the back of a fork or masher, crush the beans until completely broken down, this will create the creamy texture you want for the sauce. Now add the remaining beans, plus the bean liquid and stock mixture, then season with black pepper and a pinch of Maldon Sea Salt.
  3. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, then stir in the pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the packet instructions, as the pasta will continue to cook off the heat. The sauce should be reduced and the consistency of half-sauce, half-soup…so a bit of a wet sloppy pasta sauce (but in a delicious way). Adjust the consistency as needed with additional water, stock, or bean liquid, keeping in mind that any liquid will tighten up as it cools due to starch from the beans and pasta.
  4. For the flavoured oil, add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a pan with the garlic, rosemary and chilli flakes, while the oil is still cold, so that the garlic cooks evenly and not too quickly. Gently cook for 3–4 minutes until fragrant and the garlic is lightly golden, then turn off the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice.
  5. Remove the pasta from heat and add most of the grated Parmesan, leaving some to serve and stir rapidly to incorporate and become creamy. Ladle a few spoonful’s into bowls, then drizzle each serving with the flavoured olive oil and the reserved Parmesan.

Purchase Make More With Less by Kitty Coles

Make More With Less by Kitty Coles (Hardie Grant, £22), Photography by Issy Croker.

Looking for fool proof recipes to make your food go further? Make More With Less by Kitty Coles takes core ingredients and transforms them into flavour-packed, simple dishes. From turning a few tins of beans into a comforting bean pasta to making leftover chicken tacos! the options are endless and the creativity never stops!

You can purchase your very own copy here, where you can flick through, raid your fridge and Kitchen cupboards and get started on creating low-waste, low-fuss and versatile recipes that you will make over and over again.

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