Embrace the hearty comfort of a classic Italian soup with this authentic Pasta e Fagioli recipe. Made with inexpensive, wholesome ingredients and packed with rich flavor, this dish is a celebration of traditional Italian warmth and simplicity.
Authentic Pasta e Fagioli, also known as pasta fazool, is a beloved classic Italian dish. This simple and hearty soup is a staple in many Italian households, and combines creamy beans and pasta cooked in a flavorful tomato broth. It’s a classic, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that’s satisfying and full of flavor!
This traditional Italian soup was one of my favorite dishes growing up. Now my kids love it too! It's one of their favorite soups along with my healthy French onion soup, orange-scented butternut squash soup, and red lentil coconut soup. I love spending a lazy Sunday afternoon at home with my family, cozy and warm indoors, while a big pot of soup simmers away on the stove- that’s my happy place!
Now I'm excited to share this authentic pasta e fagioli recipe with you. With its robust flavors, tender beans, and perfectly cooked pasta, it's the ultimate comfort food. Whether you're making it for the first time or as a family tradition, you won't be disappointed!
Why You'll Love This Dish
- Hearty and wholesome: This authentic pasta e fagioli is the ultimate comfort food that warms the soul.
- Easy: Whether you're a seasoned chef or a first-time cook, this recipe is simple to follow.
- Family-friendly: A favorite among all age groups, this comfort food dish brings the whole family together.
- Simple ingredients: This tasty soup is made with budget-friendly, pantry ingredients.
- Perfect for leftovers: The flavors of this soup deepen overnight so it's perfect for lunch or dinner the next day.
What is Pasta Fagioli?
Pasta e fagioli (or pasta fagioli) is a beloved classic Italian soup that translates to "pasta and beans" in English. It's sometimes referred to as "pasta fazool."
Pasta e fagioli is a rustic dish with humble, peasant origins. It's made with simple, readily available ingredients typically found in the Italian pantry.
It's a beloved comfort food, especially during the colder months, and is often served with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The soup pairs well with crusty bread, making it a satisfying and complete meal.
Ingredient notes and substitutions. See recipe card at the end of the post for full recipe details.
- Vegetables- onions, carrots, and celery form the foundation of the soup
- Pancetta- pancetta is Italian cured pork belly, similar to bacon, but is typically unsmoked. You can find it in the deli section of your grocery store otherwise you can substitute bacon. Some pasta fagioli recipes use other types of meat like Italian sausage or ground beef.
- Rosemary- adds earthy flavor to the soup- you can use fresh rosemary or dried; you can substitute thyme or Italian seasoning. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat.
- Parmesan- top the soup with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (you can substitute Pecorino Romano) before serving. A little trick is to also add the rind of the parmesan cheese to the soup as it cooks. This is like a flavor bomb, infusing the soup with umami.
- Crushed tomatoes- you can use crushed tomatoes, tomato puree or canned whole tomatoes and crush them yourself.
- Beans- traditionally, pasta e fagioli uses borlotti beans, which are called cranberry beans in the US. But you can use cannellini beans, which have a similar creamy texture and more widely available. You can also use pinto beans, Great Northern beans or white kidney beans. Dried beans are traditional but to save time, I use canned beans.
- Broth- you can use chicken broth or vegetable broth; I like to use reduced sodium broth to control the amount of sodium in the dish.
- Pasta- ditalini pasta is classic but you can substitute another small pasta shape like small shells or macaroni.
How to Make Pasta e Fagioli Step-By-Step
See recipe card at the end of the post for full recipe details.
- Step 1- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat and cook the pancetta until it is browned and fat has rendered.
- Step 2- Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until softened, 5–6 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook another minute until fragrant.
- Step 3- Add the parmesan rind, crushed tomatoes, broth, water, salt, and black pepper.
- Step 4- Place about a quarter cup of cannellini beans in a bowl and add a little bit of the cooking liquid. Mash with a fork to form a paste.
- Step 5- Add the bean paste to the soup pot along with the rest of the whole beans. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.
- Step 6- Add the pasta, cover the pot, and cook another 10-12 minutes until pasta is al dente. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning to taste. You can also adjust thickness of the soup to your liking by adding water or broth.
Ladle pasta e fagioli into soup bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. The soup will thicken as it stands.
- To add extra flavor to this soup, add the rind from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. As the soup simmers away, it will be infused with an unbelievable umami kick! I like to save my parmesan rinds and store them in the freezer. If you don't have a parmesan rind, just stir a couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese into the soup at the end.
- Mashing some of the beans into a paste helps to thicken the soup. I do this with a fork or wooden spoon. You could also use a blender or immersion blender. You can adjust the thickness to your liking by adding more water or broth. The soup will thicken a lot as it stands.
- Dried beans are traditional in pasta e fagioli, but I use canned beans for convenience. If using dried beans, soak them overnight. Then, drain and rinse them before adding them to the soup. The cooking time will be longer if using dried beans.
- Although it's not traditional, you can add some leafy greens like spinach, kale or collard greens to the soup for a boost of nutrition.
This traditional Pasta Fagioli recipe is part of my Best Fall Soup Recipes Collection.
What To Serve With Pasta Fagioli
I like to serve this authentic pasta e fagioli with:
Bread- a loaf of crusty bread is perfect to sop up the rich soup. You can also serve this soup with my pan con tomate (Spanish tomato bread) or garlic bread. For a low-carb treat, try my cheesy cauliflower bread.
You can store pasta e fagioli in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. The soup will thicken a lot in the fridge so when reheating, add some water or broth to thin it out.
Pasta e Fagioli is a traditional Italian soup made with a flavorful tomato broth, tender white beans, short pasta, and aromatic ingredients like garlic, rosemary, and Parmesan cheese.
No, but you can make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the pancetta and using vegetable broth.
"Pasta Fagioli" and "Pasta Fazool" are essentially two pronunciations of the same classic Italian dish, which translates to "pasta and beans." The difference lies in regional dialects, with "Fagioli" reflecting a standard Italian pronunciation and "Fazool" representing a colloquial pronunciation commonly used in America.
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Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans Soup)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or ¾ teaspoon dried
- 1 parmesan rind (optional)
- 1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 quart reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cans (15.5 oz) reduced sodium cannellini or borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cups ditalini pasta or other small pasta
- grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and olive oil
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook 4-5 minutes until it is browned and has rendered most of its fat.
- Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5–6 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook another minute until fragrant.
- Add the parmesan rind, crushed tomatoes, broth, water, salt, and pepper.
- Place about a quarter cup of beans in a bowl and add a little bit of the cooking liquid. Mash the beans with a fork to form a paste. Add the paste to the pot along with the rest of the whole beans.
- Bring soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes. Then, add the pasta. Cover the pot and cook another 10-12 minutes until pasta is cooked.
- Taste the soup and adjust seasoning to taste. Add more water as needed if you prefer the soup to have a thinner consistency. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. The soup will thicken as it stands.