Pasta e fagioli is a hearty Italian soup made with pasta, beans, and veggies. Served with crusty bread, it’s vegetarian comfort food at its best.
Pasta e fagioli, sometimes shortened to pasta fagioli (or pasta fazool if you’re a Sopranos fan), is a classic Italian soup. Its name literally translates to “pasta and beans,” and it consists of tiny pasta, creamy beans, and tender vegetables in a fragrant tomato broth.
Here in the US, many people know pasta e fagioli from the menu at Olive Garden, but I’m here to tell you that you HAVE to try making this dish at home. It comes together in one pot. The ingredients are largely pantry staples. AND the combination of pasta, beans, and veggies makes it a satisfying standalone meal.
If you’re looking for simple, affordable, and delicious dinners to add to your rotation, pasta e fagioli can’t be beat. I’m sharing my go-to recipe below. I hope you love it as much as I do!
Pasta e Fagioli Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make this pasta e fagioli recipe:
- Pasta, of course! Ditalini is my top pick. Can’t find it? Little elbow macaroni noodles or another small pasta shape would work well too.
- Beans – In Italy, pasta e fagioli is traditionally made with fresh cranberry beans. However, fresh shell beans are hard to find where I live, so I call for canned cannellini beans instead. They’re still delicious!
- Extra-virgin olive oil – For richness.
- Onion, garlic, carrots, and fennel – These aromatic veggies create the soup’s flavorful base. I LOVE the fennel’s anise-like flavor in this soup, but if you can’t find it, or if you’re not a fennel fan, celery is a great alternative!
- Tomato paste – It thickens the broth and deepens the tomato flavor.
- Fresh rosemary – For cozy, piney flavor.
- Diced tomatoes – They add sweet, tangy flavor to the broth.
- Vegetable broth – Use store-bought, or make your own.
- A Parmesan rind – Yep, you can just chop the rind off a block of Parmesan cheese! If you’re vegetarian, be sure to look for a brand made with vegetarian enzymes (BelGioioso makes a great one). If you’re vegan, feel free to skip it.
- Kale or Swiss chard – It’s not entirely traditional in pasta e fagioli, but I love finishing a pot of soup with lots of leafy greens!
- Red pepper flakes – They add a kick of heat.
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Pasta e Fagioli
This hearty soup recipe is so simple to make!
First, sauté the veggies. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the onion, carrots, and fennel. You want the veggies to get very soft. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and rosemary, and cook for another minute.
Next, simmer the soup. Add the tomatoes, beans, broth, and Parmesan rind to the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Then, stir in the pasta. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the pasta is al dente.
Finally, add the kale and red pepper flakes. Cook until the kale wilts. Season to taste and serve!
Pasta e Fagioli Serving Suggestions
When you’re ready to eat, ladle the pasta e fagioli soup into bowls, and top it with more red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of parsley, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if you like. You also can’t go wrong with a side of crusty bread for sopping up the broth!
Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a day or two, but the pasta soaks up more and more of the broth the longer it sits in the soup. If you want to make this recipe several days ahead, or if you plan on freezing it, you may want to leave out the pasta when you first make the soup. Instead, boil it separately and add it to the soup just before serving so that the noodles still have an al dente bite when you eat.
More Favorite Soup Recipes
If you love this recipe, try one of these classic soups next:
Pasta e Fagioli
Serves 4 to 6
Pasta e fagioli, sometimes shortened to pasta fagioli, is a classic Italian soup made with pasta and beans. My recipe is a comforting, delicious vegetarian dinner! Serve it with crusty bread for sopping up the flavorful broth.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 small fennel bulb or 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Parmesan rind, optional
- 1 cup ditalini pasta, or other small pasta
- 2 large kale or Swiss chard leaves, stemmed and torn (about 6 cups)
- Pinches of red pepper flakes
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, carrots, salt, and several grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until very soft.
Add the garlic, tomato paste, and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the beans, broth, and Parmesan rind, if using. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the pasta and simmer for 10 more minutes, or until al dente. Stir in the kale and red pepper flakes and cook until the kale is wilted. Season to taste and serve.