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Chifferi elbow pasta with cannellini beans and tuna
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5 from 7 votes

Chifferi Elbow Pasta with Cannellini Beans and Tuna

This delicious and nutritious elbow pasta recipe is perfect for weekday meals and times when you want to put a healthy meal on the table with simple pantry staples.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Soaking and cooking beans13 hrs 30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, canned tuna, cannellini, chifferi, elbow pasta, pasta with beans
Servings: 4
Calories: 578kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 400 g elbow pasta (14oz) gomiti, chifferi or pipettte
  • 200 g dried cannellini beans (7oz) or one can precooked beans
  • 120 g canned tuna (4oz) best in olive oil
  • 1 white onion peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1-2 anchovy fillets or anchovy paste
  • 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Italian red chili pepper (peperoncino) deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste


  • If using dried beans, soak them overnight in a pot of cold water. Then rinse them well. Refill the pot with water and cook over a low heat for about 60 minutes until the beans are ready. I added some salt, a garlic clove and a celery stalk to the water. When the beans are ready, drain them but save the cooking water.
  • If using canned beans, rinse them well and discard the liquid in the can. You can use vegetable stock instead of the bean cooking water in the sauce.
  • Peel the onion and slice it thinly then peel the garlic. Remove the seeds from the red pepper and cut into small circles
  • Heat the olive oil in an iron skillet or heavy frying pan, sauté the garlic, red chili pepper and onion with 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive. When they start to soften add the anchovy. When it starts to melt, add the previously drained and chopped tuna and, stir the ingredients enough to flavour them. 
  • Add the tomato paste and a little water to dissolve it. Now add the cannellini beans and some of their cooking liquid and gently mix everything together.Next add a small bay leaf and cook covered on a low heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and then remove the garlic .
  • While the sauce is cooking put a large pot of water on the stove, bring it to a boil, then add salt and wait for it to boil again, pour in the pasta and let it cook al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Don’t forget to stir it from time to time.
  • Drain the pasta once it’s cooked and mix it with the cannellini and tuna bean sauce, sauté the pasta with beans and tuna for a couple of minutes and serve hot or tepid with a sprinkling of parsley.


This dish can be made with other types of elbow pasta.