To be completed the night before cooking: Place the beans in a large heavy-based stockpot and cover with cold water. Leave to soak overnight which will reduce the cooking time of the beans.
The next day, drain the beans and rinse well under cold running water. Set aside.
To make the ‘soffritto’ (sautéed base flavouring), heat the olive oil in the stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, bay leaves and rosemary. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes until the onion is soft.
Stir the beans and tomato paste (or Italian passata) into the soffritto. Pour the cold water into the stockpot and add the silver beet (chard/swiss chard). Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 ½ hours or until the beans are tender (check every 5-10 minutes after beans have been cooking for 1 hour as the cooking time of beans varies considerably).
For a shorter cooking time, cook the dried borlotti and red kidney beans in a pressure cooker for approximately 40 minutes.
Once the beans are cooked, season to taste. Add the ditalini pasta, referring to the cooking time specified in pasta packet instructions.
To serve, ladle hot pasta e fagioli among serving bowls. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil – buon appetito.
300g dried borlotti beans|100g red kidney beans|2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve|1 small onion, finely chopped|1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped|1 large stalk celery, finely chopped|2 bay leaves|2 sprigs rosemary|30g tomato paste (alternatively 200g Italian passata)|2 litres water|3 stalks silver beet (chard/swiss chard), white stalks discarded and coarsely chopped|200g ditalini pasta|Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper