Pasta with beans, tomatoes, and a simple cheese sauce

(read in Italian)

A delicious and simple homemade sauce for pasta made with red kidney beans, sautéed tomatoes, and aged cheese: this vegetarian recipe doesn’t need many words; it’s the ultimate comfort food with a good balance between deliciousness, nutrients, and simplicity.

Pasta with beans, tomatoes, and cheese
Pasta with beans, tomatoes, and cheese


  • creaminess: nothing can beat pasta coated in a tasty sauce, even if it’s just made of tomatoes
  • flavor: the ideal sauce combines well with the pasta in a mouth-watering experience and the two flavors don’t cover each other
  • simplicity: the best sauce is the one you can prepare in the same time (or less) that takes you to cook the pasta
  • extra nutrients: the easiest way to create a more nutritious meal in minutes. No need to think about something else to pair with your bowl of pasta: simply add some ingredients in the sauce! If you don’t have anything that can help you in getting a creamy result, use the blender and, in a matter of minutes, you’ll turn a red pepper and a tbsp of tahini (just to give you an example) into a tasty pasta sauce

Sometimes all you’ll be looking for in a bowl of pasta will be taste and maybe you’ll want to eat or cook a specific recipe, so there’s no room for adding ingredients and extra nutrients: that’s absolutely fine! Not every meal needs to be perfectly balanced or with something extra: it’s important to know that you can create some recipes like the one in this post and use it as a chance to include more nutrients into your days, but this doesn’t mean that a simpler option is off the table.

This recipe with a simple cheese sauce (that somehow reminds me of a “cacio e pepe” pasta), red kidney beans, ripe tomatoes, and good quality extra virgin olive oil ticks all the boxes.

To get the best out of this meal, choose your favorite short-cut pasta: here I’ve used some homemade gnocchetti sardi, but orecchiette or mezze maniche would be delicious, too. Use gluten-free pasta if necessary.

Homemade pasta (gnocchetti sardi) to go with beans, tomatoes, and cheese
Ingredients for a simple pasta sauce with beans, tomatoes, and cheese
Sautéed tomatoes for the pasta sauce
Vegetarian pasta sauce with cheese, beans, and mint
Pasta with beans, tomatoes, and cheese


Ingredients (serves 2-3)

  • 120 g dry pasta
  • 160 g cooked red kidney beans
  • 220 g ripe baby plum tomatoes (Datterini)
  • 3 tbsp grated aged cheese (a good cheese made with sheep’s milk would be perfect, but you can also use a mature cheddar or mix these two kinds of cheese)
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (better if freshly grounded)
  • extra virgin olive oil

For this recipe, you’ll need to cook your pasta a bit less than what you would do to make it “al dente”, so it won’t end up being overcooked. Cook your pasta as you would usually do in a pot of boiling water. When the pasta will be ready, set it aside (dry) tossed with a drizzle of olive oil.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan, then carefully add the tomatoes and the black pepper: stir for approx. 30 seconds then add 4-5 tbsp of warm water and use a fork to make one small hole in each tomato. Keep stirring the ingredients until there’s no water left. Set aside the tomatoes and add 4-5 tbsp of cooking water from the pasta into the same pan you’ve just used: add the grated cheese and stir well, then add the beans and the pasta. Keep stirring for approx. 30 seconds to 1 minute, until you’ll get a creamy result. Add the chopped mint leaves and the tomatoes at the end, just to warm them up. Serve warm to get the most out of the cheese sauce – add more black pepper on top if necessary and a sprinkle of grated cheese (optional).

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