‘Pasta with beans’ is one of the most famous dishes of the Italian tradition; in fact, it is so widespread across the peninsula that each region has their own version. The region of origin is uncertain, although it seems likely to have been either Tuscany, Lazio, Lombardy or Veneto. Today one could say that it is the typical dish of the Veneto and Tuscany, whilst in the past it was a dish of the common people served in ancient Roman taverns, cheap and nutritious. Later it became a dish of the peasantry, easy to prepare from the produce of their gardens. Remaining a part of the peasant tradition it was a particularly popular dish during autumn in the Veneto, since this coincides with the time when you slaughtered your pig, whose bones and skin would then be used for flavouring.
Soak the beans for 12 hours. Cook the beans in boiling water for 45 minutes: every 15 minutes change the cooking water; add salt for the last 15 minutes. In a large pan, fry some chopped celery, carrot, onion and lard, with a dash of white wine. Peel the tomatoes and cut into small cubes. Add some diced pancetta to another pan and fry with the tomato. Add half the beans and let them cook with the pancetta and tomato, then add them to the onion, celery and carrot mixture. Puree the other half of the beans with a little meat stock. Add this puree to the frying pan mixture and cook for another 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper and sugar. Add pasta to the pan with little hot water, and cook the pasta with the other ingredients until cooked. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.