Ciao! Today, I’m going to tell you how to cook fresh borlotti beans like an Italian. You will learn how Italians cook delicious fresh borlotti beans with just a little help from garlic and bay leaves.

cooked borlotti beans in mason jar
shelled borlotti beans in a pot with water

When you find borlotti beans that are fresh and still in the pod, catch them before they’re gone: cooking fresh borlotti is a life experience. 

First of all, because of the time you spend shelling them: for some, it is a waste of time; for me, it is kitchen meditation. 

Second, it’s an opportunity to learn how to cook fresh borlotti beans like an Italian. Like a nonna slowly shelling, slowly simmering, slowly savoring a bean to check the readiness.

Italian-style borlotti beans, by the way, is a very easy recipe.

borlotti beans at the greengrocer

how to cook fresh borlotti beans

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2
Author Claudia Rinaldi


  • 1.5 cups fresh borlotti beans
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt to taste


  1. Shell the beans and place them in a pot with the garlic clove (no need to peel it) and the bay leaves.

  2. Cover entirely with water and turn on the heat to medium.
  3. Cook, lid on, but leaving a little opening, about 40 minutes, or until fork-tender.

  4. Every now and then, check and add water if necessary.
  5. When thoroughly cooked, salt beans to your taste.
fresh borlotti beans, garlic and bay leaves
single borlotti bean out of the pod

Beans in the Italian culture

Did you know the Italian expression “cadere a fagiolo”? Fagiolo is the Italian word for bean, so it literally translates into “drop as a bean”. In the past, beans were harvested very ripely when a simple gesture would make them drop from the plant into the soil – or your hands. Therefore the expression is used for situations that easily fall into place. For example, when someone arrives when needed or a topic is introduced in a conversation at the proper time.

From the Italian Colors Newsletter: “…He also eyed totally out-of-season bell peppers and cooked them with his secret recipe: roasted in the oven, peeled, and seasoned with olive oil, garlic, olives, and a hint of lemon juice. I made a salad with the leftovers by adding “puntarelle” (the Roman chicory), white beans, and basil, and it turned out to be a successful experiment.


Pasta e fagioli recipe by Gourmet Project

Enjoy your borlotti beans.