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Best Pasta e Fagioli Recipes

Best Pasta e Fagioli Recipes

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Top Rated Pasta e Fagioli Recipes

Nothing warms the soul better than a bowl of hearty, hot soup. In my house, that usually comes in the form of minestrone, escarole and bean, or pasta e fagioli.Translating to pasta and beans, this robust dish is ideal for a one-pot dinner, with some crusty bread for dipping. The richness of the plum tomato paired with the weighty cannellini beans makes for a nice base. Blend with a bold combination of garlic and red pepper flakes and we're in business.Perfect for the chill in your bones during fall and winter nights, these simple steps will leave you cozy in no time.Click here to see Cozy Comfort Food Recipes.

The absolute best pasta e fagioli

Ahhh …pasta and beans. If you’re a fan of Italian food, Pasta e Fagioli will most likely be included in your list of favorites. It’s a hearty soup with more than enough versions to sample. Every Italian restaurant will make the claim that theirs is the best. They are all good, no doubt. If you ask anyone in my family, they’ll tell you this is The Absolute Best Pasta e Fagioli!

There is one rule though …

To be authentic, it must include pasta and beans. After that, anything goes. It can be made with pancetta. Or it can be made without any meat at all. It can be “soupy” with a light broth or “stew-like” with a thickened base of milled beans. This one is a variation of the recipe found in the Stonewall Kitchen Favorites cookbook. The standout difference in this recipe is the addition of fresh rosemary.

The original recipe instructs us to use cubed boneless pork loin roast …which requires substantial cooking to become tender. Since this soup cooks up rather quickly, I found that pork tenderloin is a better option. But, remember how this soup goes …you can switch that out for sausage, chicken, or no meat at all. Also, for extra flavor, there’s always the addition of a bit of pancetta or bacon.

This delicious soup can be transformed into a gluten-free dish simply by switching out the flour and pasta for gluten-free versions.

Have your veggies prepped before starting on the soup. I always use whole canned tomatoes instead of the crushed variety. When added to the soup, I break them up into good sized chunks so that they are a bit more substantial. Either choice will work. At this point, you’re about 40 minutes away from a simmering pot of mouthwatering deliciousness.

Be careful not to overcook the vegetables before adding the broth. You’ll enjoy the added texture of the perfectly cooked veggies in that bowl of soup later on.

I know I’ve said this before but …be sure to have that crusty bread ready! Throw in a fresh green salad and you have a substantial meal.


1 ⁄ 2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery with leaves, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 sprig rosemary
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ditalini, elbows, or tripolini pasta
Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

How to Make Easy Pasta E Fagioli

Step 1: Prepare all the Ingredients

Gather all the ingredients and chop all the veggies. Open all the cans, drain and rinse the beans. When you prepare and gather everything first, recipes are much easier to follow and there is less room for mistakes.

Step 2: Sweat the Veggies

Add the olive oil to a large dutch oven or soup pot and add the diced pancetta if using. Cook the pancetta on medium heat until it is lightly browned, then add the onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté and sweat the veggies until the onions are translucent. Next add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant.

Step 3: Add Liquids and Beans

Stir in the tomato sauce, water, chicken broth and beans. Let the soup come up to a low boil.

Step 4: Add the Pasta

Add the pasta and cook for 6-7 minutes until the pasta is almost al dente, stirring often to make sure the pasta does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Them remove the pot from the heat and let it cool about 5 minutes. As it cools the pasta will finish cooking.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

Serve the soup with some grated parmesan cheese for topping, bread for mopping and a salad for an extra dose of veggies. Enjoy!

The liquid

‘Peasant food of the most warming and comforting kind’: Russell Norman’s pasta e fagioli.

Tomatoes are very much optional – they play no part at all in Contaldo’s recipe – but, simmered down until they become one with the beans, they do add a pleasant dose of umami. Indeed, if you’re really keen on them, try Norman’s version, which stirs in a rich, long-simmered tomato sauce to create a creamily robust tomato and bean soup that is surely the very definition of a cockle-warmer, whatever that is in Italian.

Hazan loosens her soup with beef stock and Contaldo with vegetable, but I’m going to stick with the bean cooking liquid, so the predominant flavour is that, rather than meat or aromatics. If you would like to use stock, a neutral chicken would be my preference for omnivores.

Make it as thick or as thin as you like: according to Contaldo’s sister Adriana, “the real pasta e fagioli should have a thicker consistency” but I’d be very surprised if there weren’t millions of Italians prepared to argue the exact opposite.

Pasta e Fagioli

I am presently in Michigan at my daughter’s house, and despite it being April, we have had freezing temperatures and enough snow to cover the ground every day over the past two weeks. Cooler weather requires hearty, comforting dishes, and there isn’t another dish that fits into this category better than Pasta e Fagiole so I decided to make this traditional dish for my family this week. This dish is a peasant recipe that is a great, stick to your ribs dish. Pasta e fagioli or pasta fagioli, and simply means “pasta and beans”, referring to the two main ingredients in the dish. This traditional Italian favorite started as a peasant dish due to being composed of very inexpensive ingredients and most often is one dish that would be prepared at home for family, and not guests. Today Pasta e Fagioli can be widely found even in restaurants, although it may be pronounced pasta fazool in the United States.

Pasta fagioli is commonly made using cannellini beans or borlotti beans and some type of small pasta such as elbow macaroni or ditalini. The base is generally olive oil, garlic, minced onion, and spices, along with stewed tomato or tomato paste, and some broth or water, although some variations do not include tomatoes at all, and are made from only broth. Modern restaurant recipes may be vegetarian, or include an Italian meat such as prosciutto or pancetta as I have used in my version. If you want a vegetarian version of this dish, simply skip adding the pancetta, and use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. I add onions and celery to my recipe, although I keep them chopped small so that the beans and pasta remain the stars of this dish.

This recipe also varies greatly based on the region or town in which it is prepared, as well as depending on available ingredients. The consistency of the dish can vary, as some renditions fall clearly in the soup category, usually because the tomato was left out, while others are much thicker and would be considered more of a pasta dish. There is always a debate whether this dish should be included in the soup or pasta category, so I am including it in both. When making this “stick to your ribs” dish, you have the option to take a third of the dish and puree it, and then return it to the pot with the rest of the mixture which creates an even thicker dish. I took a vote and my family didn’t want me to include this step so I just left the mixture as is, and it was plenty thick enough after cooking the pasta right in the pot with the beans. Serve this dish with lots of crusty Italian bread and a nice big mixed salad for a complete meal.

Slow Cooker Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli

Yield: 8 servings

prep time: 20 minutes

cook time: 8 hours 40 minutes

total time: 9 hours

Everyone’s FAVORITE Olive Garden soup made so easily in the crockpot! Just set it and forget it!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup ditalini pasta
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until sausage is browned, about 5-7 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks drain excess fat.
  2. Place sausage mixture into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in chicken stock, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, oregano and thyme season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 5-6 hours. Uncover and stir in pasta cover and cook on high heat for an additional 30 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Serve immediately with Parmesan, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Did you Make This Recipe?

Tag @damn_delicious on Instagram and hashtag it #damndelicious.

There are several differences between pasta Fagioli and minestrone, but here are the most notable:

  • Pasta Fagioli – is a simple pasta and beans stew with some tomatoes that are thick in nature and can sometimes include onions, celery, and carrots. – this is a loaded vegetable soup with legumes, green vegetables, root vegetables, and stock and often times is a base to other Italian soups where you add in proteins. This is more complex with a lot more ingredients.

Both soups are different in flavor and both are worth a make during the cold winter months.

Pasta e Fagioli + Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation

Pasta and beans simmered in herb-infused tomato sauce are the building blocks of this hearty Italian soup, Pasta e Fagioli. When you’re cooking for a crowd, in search of a budget-friendly meal, or craving a simple dish to please everyone at your family’s table, this is the soup for you.

When I was growing up in New York, my mom made plenty of Italian-inspired dishes — things like lasagna and chicken Parmesan — but it wasn’t until college when I visited my roommate’s family in Connecticut that I tried pasta e fagioli. Until recently, I had never made this dish myself (I’m not sure why I waited so long), but I always remembered it. I think it was the aroma and flavor of the fresh rosemary and garlic that had me hooked the second that spoon hit my lips.

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When fellow dietitian, Alex Caspero, sent me her new cookbook, Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation, I poured through its pages, added about a dozen sticky notes, and ultimately gravitated to her version of pasta e fagioli. Alex makes it with ditalini pasta, cannellini beans, tomato sauce, rosemary, parsley, garlic, and spinach. It was the familiar ingredients that appealed to me, because I wanted to replicate the dish that I ate in college, but the dietitian in me also appreciated the addition of spinach. The more veggies the better as far as I’m concerned.

Alex joined me this week on Episode 2 of Liz’s Healthy Table. You can listen to the interview, read the show notes, and get Alex’s recipe for Roasted Vegetable Ziti on my Podcast page.

But before you go, check out Alex’s Pasta e Fagioli recipe below and enter our GIVEAWAY for a signed copy of Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation. Just leave a comment at the end of the post and tell me about your family’s favorite Italian recipe and/or why you’d like to win the book. Giveaway ends May 24th at midnight. (US only entries, please.) ** Giveaway Now Closed **

Pasta e Fagioli

Craving something hearty, healthy and warm? Pasta e Fagiole (AKA pasta and beans) is the answer. Perfect for those dreary winter evenings when you want something fast and delicious, this soup comes together in no time, and it's super adaptable. (As in, chop up whatever you've got in your crisper and throw it in the pot!)

Traditionally this soup is made from dried beans, but we've opted for canned beans for ease. Not only can we be sure that canned beans are cooked perfectly every time, but in this recipe we're also using their canning liquid for added flavor. If you prefer dried beans&mdashgo for it! Just be sure to factor in added time for soaking the dried beans.

Beans aren't the only variables you can play with in this recipe! Below, we'll break down all the opportunities for substitutions and additions so you can make your Pasta e Fagioli the best it can be!

The Vegetables

Onions, carrots, and celery (AKA mirepoix) provides the flavorful foundation from this soup, and many others. That doesn't mean they have to be the only vegetables though! Root vegetables like parsnips, fennel, or turnips could also be thrown in at this stage to contribute added flavor and texture.

If you prefer more leafy greens in your soup, try kale, bok choy, or escarole. These can all be added around the same time as the pasta, that way they'll have time to wilt but will still retain some bite. If you'd like to add more delicate greens like swiss chard or spinach, throw them in at the end. They'll wilt in less than a minute when folded into the hot soup.

The Noodles

Traditionally this dish is made with Ditalini, a tiny, tube-shaped pasta. Generally, we prefer to stick to tradition and choose a smaller shape of pasta like ditalini, orecchiete, or even orzo. Pretty much any pasta you have lying around will do, but we'd stay away from longer noodles like spaghetti or fettuccine. (They're better suited for dishes like garlic spaghetti and shrimp alfredo.)

Part of what makes our Pasta e Fagioli so hearty is the addition of sausage. It's totally optional, though! If you'd prefer, start by crisping up some bacon or pancetta instead. When all the fat is rendered out, remove it from your pan to a paper towel lined plate and use the remaining fat to cook your vegetables. When your soup is fully prepared, top it with your crisped bacon/pancetta before serving. Chicken or shrimp would also be a great addition, just keep in mind they cook at different rates and would need to be added at different stages of cooking.

The Broth

When it comes to broth, we have one rule: buy low sodium! Often store-bought broth is seasoned with an unnecessary amount of salt. Instead, we prefer to season ourselves. Remember, it's a lot easier to fix an under-salted soup than an over-salted one.

Vegetable broth is also a perfectly good substitute if you're going the vegetarian route. This soup is hearty enough without any meat, so feel free to substitute away! Small cubes of extra firm tofu would be a good addition as well if you're looking for more protein.

Parm is the most traditional route for this dish, a little freshly grated on top before serving goes a long way. If you're the type of person that saves parm rinds in the freezer, now's the time to use 'em! They'll add another dimension of richness and flavor that takes this soup to a whole other level.

Good parm is expensive. If you're on a budget, try pecorino instead! It's a delicious salty, nutty hard cheese, but with a lower price tag.

Final Touches

A good garnish can really make a soup. We top ours with cheese and parsley, but you can really go crazy with the toppings. Red pepper flakes, a squeeze of lemon, or even more herbs like basil or tarragon would also be delicious. Just make sure you're adding something with a little brightness like herbs or citrus to give this hearty soup a boost of brightness. Buon appetitio!