Hello! Some days ago i read a post on Stephan Blog regarding an italian recipe: pasta dish with fagioli. So i was thinking that it would be nice to speak today about a typical dish of Piacenza, my town: pisarei ad fasö (literally, from our dialect, pisarei – a small type of pasta, similar to gnocchi – and pinto beans – in italian “fagioli borlotti”)


It’s a poor dish that originate from old farmers cooking, tasty and nourishing. Here the recipe:

INGREDIENTS (4 persons):
For Pintos (Borlotti) Sauce:

– 300 gr of dry “borlotti” beans
– 1 stick of celery
– 1 onion
– 1 garlic slice
– 100 gr lard
– 50 gr butter
– 250 gr tomatoes sauce
– parsley and basil (if you like it, there are many “interpretation, someone uses bay leaves)

For Pisarei:

– 400 g flour
– 30 gr bread crumbs
– Grana Padano grattugiato (only for flavour up the dish in the end)

First of all, you start the preparation of the “Borlotti” Sauce: put to soak the beans for 12 hours and then stew them for 1 hour in a pot, together with the stick of celerty and the onion, half cutted. (if you don’t have enough time, it’s okay if you use beans already boiled) In the meantime, you mince the lard togethet with a small garlic slice and two spoons of parsley.
Put the ingredients in another casserole, add the butter and blend a bit. After 10 minutes, add the tomatoes sauce, basil and the beans (already drained), together with a bit of their cooking water. Cook for 1 hours and 30 minutes, adding salt and pepper as you wish.


Now on, you’ll prepare the “pisarei”: make a well in the centre of the flour, put in the centre bread crumbs together with a bit of hot water, then you start to knead the ingredients. Whenever the mixture absorbs the water, you’ll add gradually other hot water. Keep kneading for 10-20 minutes, till then the mixture will become smooth and elastic.


A little at a time, took a bit of pasta and make some small, thin rolls; after, divide them in little pieces, and push lightly with the thumb in the center of each little piece of pasta, they will remember little curls. (they seems “gnocchi”, but they’re smaller) Cook the “pisarei” in hot, salted water; in the end, strain them and flavor them with hot “borlotti”sauce. Serve them with grated Grana Padano.

Buon Appetito!


  1. Cris, grazie mille for pointing me in your recipe’s direction following our time in Emilia-Romagna. It seems that once I find some gluten-free flour I could give this recipe a whirl. I look forward to seeing how the flavor differs from potato gnocchi. 🙂

    • Eh eh!I’m glad to make you know the recipe of my town and of my region.. food is also fundamental when you’re discovering a foreign country…Ah!I forgot! Pisarei are smaller than gnocchi: if you’ll make it, cut them in pieces of 2 cm maximum. 😉

  2. Pingback: Pisarei e Fasö (Breadcrumb Gnocchi with Beans) | Stefan's Gourmet Blog

    • ah ah! Guarda, basta un po’ do esercizio, organizzare le frasi in maniera semplice e non proprio alla lettera..l’italiano è una lingua molto più ricca di sinonimi rispetto all’inglese…se hai bisogno una mano volentieri comunque 🙂

      • Già, ma siccome vado sempre di fretta non ho mai tempo di farlo e di google traduttore non è che mi fidi poi tanto! Una curiosità: ma a te appare la barra di Google che traduce, volendo, la pagina che stai visitando automaticamente? Gentilissima comunque 🙂

      • si, Google traduttore va “tradotto” a sua volta, in effetti … no, la barra non appare in automatico, va installata la Google Toolbar e selezionata la traduzione .. se non ricordo male (perché l’ho tolta da un po’ .. 🙂 )

  3. Very interesting recipe, thanks for point me to it! I’ve never seen fresh pasta made with breadcrumbs before. To me the pisarei look a bit like orecchiette, although I know those are supposed to be made using a blunt knife rather than your finger. I just bought a can of borlotti beans, so I think I know what it’s going to be used for. I will probably try to use less lard and butter though.

  4. Hi, Cris! I read this post a few times. It is quite intricate and exceptional. I am so impressed by your cooking! I very much enjoyed reading about the origins of the dish. And I was so surprised to hear that you use pinto beans in Italy! Pinto beans are also native to our current state, New Mexico. The Grana Padano grattugiato sounds like the perfect finish (you know that I adore Italian cheeses!!!!!!!) and the little pisarei are so cute. Thank you so much for sharing. I am bookmarking this recipe! xx Shanna

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