Pasta Fagioli recipe (Pasta Fazool) is a uniquely cozy, satisfying, astonishingly easy Italian style soup, all simmered in one pot, that your family will treasure forever!
Pasta e Fagioli (“Pasta and Beans”) is a classic Italian dish and the ultimate comfort food that will fill you up, warm you up, and tastes even better the next day. It’s loaded with pasta and beans for a hearty richness, somewhere between a soup and a chili, that will have everyone coming back for seconds and thirds. This recipe is not 100% authentic, but instead uses easy-to-find ingredients such as juicy Italian sausage, al dente pasta, fresh vegetables and creamy beans in a tomato, herb, Parmesan-infused broth. This Pasta e Fagioli Soup is super versatile, amenable to practically any veggies, pasta or protein! Serve this recipe up with homemade Caesar Salad and some garlic bread for the ideal cozy feast.
This Pasta Fazool joins a long list of my favorite Italian soup recipes! If you love hearty Italian soups, don’t miss Stuffed Pepper Soup, Zuppa Toscana, Lasagna Soup, Minestrone Soup, Tomato Basil Soup, or Italian Wedding Soup.
How to Make Pasta Fagioli Video
Pasta e Fagioli Ingredients
Hot Italian sausage, pasta, and beans make this soup ultra-hearty and filling, while a medley of chopped vegetables adds texture galore. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need to make homemade Pasta e Fagioli Soup (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
HOW TO MAKE Pasta Fagioli
Pasta e Fagioli Soup is a very easy recipe to make, with a little sautéing, then the rest is opening up a few cans and dumping everything into the same pot. Let’s walk through how to make it with step-by-step photos (full printable recipe at the bottom of the post):
- Step 1: Brown the sausage and sauté the vegetables. Start by browning the sausage and onions in a large Dutch oven, crumbling the sausage as you go. Once almost cooked through, add the carrots and celery and cook until the onions are tender. Lastly, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook until the the vegetables are tender.
- Step 2: Add the tomatoes and herbs. Add the crushed tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, water, Parmesan rind, herbs and spices to the pot. The soup will be very thick at this point, but we’ll thin it out later with broth.
- Step 3: Simmer the soup. Cover and simmer the soup for about 10 minutes over low heat to give the ingredients flavors time to build and meld.
- Step 4: Simmer the broth, beans and pasta. Add the broth and beans to the pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente (don’t overcook!), about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. The soup will still be a little brothy at this point, but it will quickly become more of a chili-like consistency before serving.
Step 5: Add Parmesan. Discard the cheese rind and bay leaf, then sprinkle in freshly grated Parmesan. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with additional Parmesan and fresh herbs, if desired.
WHAT to serve with pasta e fagioli
This recipe for Pasta e Fagioli Soup is a meal-in-one complete with protein, veggies, and starch, so you can call dinner done or serve it with any of these additional sides:
Pasta Fagioli FAQS
The Italian term “Pasta e Fagoili” translates in English to pasta and beans. It’s a hearty soup consisting of short pasta and typically cannellini or borlotti beans.
Pasta Fagioli and minestrone are both Italian soups with similar flavor profiles and pasta. The two main differences are the thickness and ingredients.
Ingredients: While the both soups typically include short pasta, beans and vegetables in a savory tomato broth, minestrone is always vegetarian and as such, includes a wider variety of vegetables. Pasta e Fagioli Soup can be vegetarian, but often includes pancetta or ground beef and only a few vegetables such as carrots and celery.
Consistency: Minestrone is traditionally brothy, whereas Pasta e Fagioli is typically thick like a chili. Of course, this can vary by region.
Pasta Fagioli Soup is traditionally served as a main dish because it is so hearty. Even in vegetarian Pasta Fazool, the beans and vegetables will fill you up!
Pasta e Fagioli, is believed to have originated as a peasant dish in Italy during the Middle Ages because it is inexpensive, filling, versatile and simple to prepare. Some say it comes from Lazio, others Campania, while others claim it comes from Veneto, pointing to the name dialect, pasta e fasoi.
Both Pasta Fazool and Pasta e Fagioli refer to the same Italian dish in different dialects. Pasta Fazool is most common in the New York Italian dialect, derived from its Neapolitan name, pasta e fasule.
Absolutely! This recipe is easy to make vegetarian or to customize depending on your personal preference. To make it vegetarian, omit the Italian sausage, and use vegetable broth. You may wish to add extra beans or vegetables to compensate for the lack of meat.
While authentic versions use dried beans, this recipe uses canned beans for easy and quick cooking. If you’d like to use dried beans, soak and cook them a day ahead of time. To use, weight out 30 ounces of the cooked beans, or about 3 ½ cups.
Pasta Fagioli is meant to be thick, as such, I like to cook the pasta directly in the soup. It makes the pasta 10X more flavorful as it soaks up the broth like a sponge. When cooking the pasta in the soup, cook it al dente, so it has a bite to it. It will soften more as the soup sits in the hot broth before serving. If you prefer a brothier soup, then I suggest cooking the pasta separately.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed (may sub lean ground beef/turkey – see notes)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional if you like spicy)
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano recommended)
- 1 15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes with juices (may sub regular)
- 1/2 cup water
- Parmesan rind (optional)
- 1 ½ tsp EACH dried basil, parsley
- 1 tsp EACH oregano, salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup ditalini or other small pasta (not cooked)
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- chopped fresh parsley and/or basil for garnish (optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large soup pot/Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown sausage and onions for 4 minutes, while breaking up the sausage. Add carrots and celery and sauté an additional 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables/onions are tender. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook for 1 minute. Dain grease.
- Add all remaining soup ingredients up to the Add Later/through pepper. Cover to help bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered with about 1 -inch gap, for 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and beans and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and simmer (uncovered) until al dente (don’t overcook!), about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Discard the cheese rind and bay leaf. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted. If you didn't use a Parmesan rind, you may wish to add more Parmesan. The soup is supposed to be a thick, chili-like consistency (and will continue to thicken as it sits), but you may thin with additional broth if desired. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan, basil and parsley if desired. Dig in!
- San Marzano tomatoes: I recommend brands San Marzano, Cento and Muir Glen. They are highly prized for their sweet, intense tomatoey flavor and lower acidity. San Marzano tomatoes are usually sold “whole” so you will want to pour them into a bowl and crush them with your hands or potato masher first.
- If you don’t have a cheese rind: Simply add additional grated Parmigiano Reggiano to the soup to taste.
- Ground beef, turkey or chicken: Swap the Italian sausage with lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken or shredded chicken and season with ½ teaspoon dried fennel (if you have it) and additional red pepper flakes and Italian seasonings as needed at the end of cooking.
- Pasta cooking time will vary. The cooking time may vary depending on your exact pasta shape and size, your soup pot, and how long it takes to bring your soup to a boil so I suggest checking the pasta occasionally until al dente.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. Remove the Pasta e Fagioli from heat as soon as the pasta is on the firmer side of al dente because it will continue to cook slightly in the hot pot and soup bowls. If it’s not initially overcooked, it will stay pleasantly textured and not become mushy even when reheated the next day.
- Cook pasta separately if needed. As written, the pasta cooks in the same pot with the sausage and beans. If you aren’t prepared to babysit your pasta or prefer a brothier soup, you may wish to cook it separately and add to individual bowls.
- Adjust the consistency as needed. As written, this Pasta Fazool has a rich thickness, closer to the consistency of chili. For a thinner soup, simply add additional broth at the end of cooking, or when reheating leftovers.
- Meal Prep: Pasta Fagioli Soup can be made in its entirety, cooled, then refrigerated for leftovers that taste even better the next day! When making ahead, take care to cook the pasta on the firmer side of al dente, then leftover pasta will be the perfect consistency! You may wish to add additional broth to leftovers if you don’t want it as thick.
- Storage: Homemade Pasta e Fagioli Soup will last about 5 days in the refrigerator. Be aware that the pasta will continue to absorb the broth as it sits. The soup is still tasty and the pasta doesn’t become mushy (as long as it’s not initially overcooked), but you’ll need to add additional broth or water to thin leftovers when reheating.
- Freezing Instructions: This Pasta e Fagioli Soup can be frozen, but note that it does not freeze well with the pasta already cooked in it (the pasta becomes mushy). If you’d like to freeze the soup, omit the pasta and add cooked pasta fresh when reheating.
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