Tomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini

Tomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini | Fork Knife Swoon

I’m ready for Winter to be over. Or at least ready for North Carolina’s weather system to make up its mind about which season we’re in. It’s currently a day by day decision.

Over the course of the last two weeks, we’ve experienced snowstorms, freezing ice rain, wind storms, vaguely-named “wintery mixes,” and a torrential thunder and lightning storm that included a tornado watch. Smack dab in the middle of all that, we had a handful of perfectly-clear, sunny days with temperatures in the high-seventies. Maybe even eighty. Like it was nothing.

Not that I’m complaining about those gorgeous, warm and breezy, summer-like days, but come on. We had back-to-back days with temperature swings of close to forty degrees. Ridiculous.

My sense of eating seasonally is now completely thrown off. I’m suddenly craving all kinds of warm weather produce. Berries. Tomatoes. Corn. I’m about five seconds away from buying a pack of Chilean strawberries and declaring it Spring. Officially.

Tomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini | Fork Knife SwoonTomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini | Fork Knife Swoon

BUT, we’re expecting another wintery mix tomorrow, so I’m straddling the seasonal line for at least a little while longer, starting with this tomato and white bean stew.

I’ve made several white bean stews and soups this winter; Lemony with dark, leafy greens. Spicy with shallots and bacon. Thick and chunky with hunks of chicken and caramelized butternut squash. White beans are such a versatile, comforting base to build flavor upon.

This version is all about a rich, herb-and-garlicky tomato sauce/stock that gets soaked up by the white beans and ditalini pasta. Then in turn, I sop up the stew with big hunks of crispy bread… Such. Goodness.

Tomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini | Fork Knife SwoonTomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini | Fork Knife Swoon

This time of year, with the quality of fresh local tomatoes sorely lacking, I used canned tomatoes. In a soup/stew like this, where I’m building layers of flavor with lots of herbs and spices, it’s an easy choice. During peak summer tomato season, you could of course substitute fresh tomatoes for an even more intense tomato flavor.

Also important to note: this recipe easily shifts from stew to soup; simply adjust the amounts of liquid and pasta accordingly. The sauce is quickly and easily absorbed by the ditalini pasta as it settles and coagulates, so if you plan to make a large batch for leftovers or simply make the dish in advance, I would err on the side of extra liquid.

Tomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini | Fork Knife SwoonTomato and White Bean Stew with Ditalini | Fork Knife Swoon


5.0 from 3 reviews
White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Ditalini
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe by:
Yield: 4 Servings
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (or sub 1 tbsp olive oil for vegetarian version)
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp (2 cloves) fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, leaves removed from woody stems and finely-minced (or sub 1/2 tsp dried rosemary)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes in purée
  • 5-6 cups rich chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 1 (15.8 oz) can white beans
  • optional: 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until melted. Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with the spices, then add the chicken stock, cover, and bring to a boil.
  2. When the stock reaches a boil, turn the stove down to medium heat. Add the pasta, and cook uncovered at a brisk simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked al dente, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the white beans and cook until warmed through. Add additional salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm with crispy bread and a dusting of Parmesan.



  1. says

    Goodness, I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I simple google search for “hand pie recipes” led me to your blog…and I am having the best time reading through your recipes! Funny you should mention NC weather, my hubby and I just moved from Raleigh to Chicago, just in time for the worst possible winter! We have had over 70 inches of snow, and months of temps 12 degrees and below. I MISS NC! So soak in the glorious spring days….we still have plenty of snow on the ground :(

  2. says

    Wow Laura, what a beautiful looking dish! And you are so right with all this wacky weather!! We are getting it here up in NY too. We had a beautiful tease of Spring weather this past weekend… but now it’s back to freezing rain and snow. ::sigh:: This stew will totally warm us up though!

    • says

      Thank you, Chris! Wasn’t it great?? It was like summer here… but without the humidity and reaaaal heat of an actual southeastern summer… :)

  3. says

    I’m watching the snow fall, shivering from inside as I type. Saturday, I was basking in the warmth and enjoying the outdoors. What?! I’m with you, I wish the weather would just make up its mind. This soup looks like just the ticket for a surprise snow – warm and comforting.

  4. says

    My palate is confused, too! I’m craving zucchini and tomatoes. Ohhh, stuffed zucchini right out of the field! Ok, I’ll stop. Let’s enjoy the present :)
    The photo of the tomatoes in the can took my breath away. Such gorgeous lighting. You’re so talented!

    • says

      Thank you so much, Christina! I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in my summer cravings… You’re right though, definitely enjoying this brief bit of GORGEOUS summer weather while it lasts! :)


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