Spaghetti with herbs, bacon and dried beans

Spaghetti with Herbs, Cannellini Beans and Bacon


Spaghetti with cannellini beans, herbs and pancetta


An irresistible spaghetti sauce

When you don’t have fussy kids hanging around who only like pasta with sauces in which the main constituent is tomato (writing from bitter experience here), this sauce with dried beans, bacon and herbs makes a wonderful change. It suits long pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine perfectly. Even if you don’t have the fussy kid issue, this spaghetti is delicious and worth making! And don’t start to think about all the work of soaking the dried beans and then toiling over a hot stove to cook them for an hour, you can push that thought straight out of your head.  Canned borlotti or canellini beans work so well that I think it would be difficult to tell the difference between freshly cooked and out of a can beans.


Pasta sauce with beans, pancetta and herbs


Get ready to chop the herbs

The only kind of annoying bit of this spaghetti sauce is mincing up the herbs, well, at least it is in my opinion.  I hate cutting up rosemary leaves.  I really should invest in one of those automatic chopper thingies for herbs one of these days.  Anyway, we have SCREEDS of rosemary growing all over the garden; some of it in hedges, some of it draping over rock walls and some of it just going plain crazy.  I grab any opportunity I can find to use some of it, Last year , when I pruned it, I had a mountain of rosemary almost as tall as me.  It almost made me cry to think of how much money I could make if I were able to send it to colder parts of the world and charge two euros for a few little sprigs!




This spaghetti sauce is very flexible.  You can omit the spice by leaving out the peperoncino, or you can leave out the cheese, or even both.  The spaghetti essentials are the herbs, beans, olive oil and bacon.  It’s up to you!

To find out how to cook pasta like an Italian does, check out my handy guide.

Travel Photo of the Week

This photo was taken very close to where we live.  It’s on a part of the Cote d’Azur called the Esterel.  It’s a natural park and is full of red rock formations.  Apparently, when Africa and Europe split up, it’s a bit of land that Africa forgot to take with it.  It must been left in a box in the basement for many years, so now Europe’s decided to keep it as Africa obviously isn’t missing it. Can you imagine what would happen if Africa ever found out that Europe had secretly kept some of it’s most treasured possessions?  Maybe they’d destroy the Mediterranean Sea in the huge fight that would follow. That would mean we could just walk from one continent to the other, which would be pretty cool!  I digress!  So, the area is fabulous for hiking around and very picturesque.


Cap Roux, Esterel, France


By Lisa Watson


Spaghetti with Herbs, Cannellini Beans and Bacon

How to make a delicious sauce for Spaghetti with Herbs, Cannellini Beans and Bacon
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: entree, first course, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 people


  • 200 g Spaghetti or other long pasta
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 75 g Bacon or pancetta
  • 3-4 sprigs Rosemary
  • 2 leaves Sage
  • 10 g Italian parsley + a small amount for garnishing
  • 150 g pre-cooked Borlotti or cannelini beans 1 cup
  • 1 clove Garlic whole
  • Peperoncino to taste
  • 5 – 6 Tbsp Good olive oil
  • 3 -4 Tbsp White wine
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese to taste


  • Boil the pasta in salted water using packet instructions.
  • Dice the onion and chop the bacon/pancetta into cubes or strips. Mince the rosemary, parsley and sage. Peel the garlic clove, but leave it whole.
  • Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan. When it is hot, add the garlic clove, peperoncino flakes and the onion.
  • When the onion starts to become translucent, add the pancetta and herbs.
  • When the pancetta has browned, add the beans. Add salt and peeper to taste.
  • After 3 – 4 minutes, deglaze the pan with the wine (poru it in and mix everything together until it evaporates).
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Add the good olive oil and mix everything together.
  • Grate parmesan cheese over the top and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.