Pasta Fagioli is an Italian white bean soup that is made with cannellini beans, carrots, celery, chicken stock and onions and it's delicious and comforting. This Italian bean soup is a traditional Italian fagioli recipe where beans are pureed into the broth and added whole as well. This is the trick to making an Italian fagioli soup and not a vegetable soup.
About this Italian fagioli soup:
Pasta fagioli (pronounced pasta fazool) and fagioli meaning beans in Italian, is a pantry style Italian white bean soup that is budget friendly and very delicious.
There are many different variations on how to make fagioli soup but this pasta fagioli recipe is my favorite and the one I have been making for years.
This traditional Italian pasta fagioli does not use any meat but if I have it around, I will add some diced pancetta for extra flavor.
The traditional way of adding flavor to Italian fagioli is by adding garlic, carrots, and celery and omitting the bacon because really, it tastes so amazing without it. Italian fagioli is naturally meat free and perfect for anyone needing a vegetarian meal.
This recipe is easy to make and so delicious as is but feel free to add a little bacon or pancetta if you prefer.
The ingredients you will need for this pasta fagioli are:
- cannellini beans
- chicken stock (good quality)
- Parmesan cheese
- Bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- red pepper flakes (optional but highly recommended)
- diced tomatoes
- Parmesan rind
- Olive oil
- ditalini (or another small shape pasta)
As I mentioned above, some of the beans are going to be pureed and some added in whole into the soup. For this you will need a food processor or blender. The pureed beans will look like a hummus when they are finished pureeing.
Here are all the steps to make this Italian Bean Soup:
- Puree some of the beans
- Cut your and prepare the carrots, celery and garlic.
- Sauté your vegetables
- Add your stock, diced tomatoes, pureed beans and whole beans
- Add your spices and Parmesan rind
- Let simmer
- Cook the pasta
- Add cooked pasta to individual bowls and top with soup.
So simple. It does not take much to throw this Italian fagioli soup together.
Now, for me, no soup is complete without a good side of crusty bread. This pasta fagioli recipe really loves a good side of bread to go along with it and my favorite one to make is this oregano crostini!
The crostini is crunchy which is good for dipping and flavored with the oregano which compliments the flavors in the soup.
The Best Way To Make the Pasta in this Italian Bean Soup:
This is an Italian pasta fagioli so we cannot forget the pasta part! Traditionally pasta fagioli uses a very small pasta shape called ditalini pasta.
They look like little tiny tubes. I have been know to use any pasta shape I have lying around (penne, bow tie, etc..). Don't stress out if you can't find the ditalini. Any smaller shape of pasta will do.
One of the things that is important when making pasta for soup is to not cook the pasta in the soup. When I make pasta for soup, I never add it to the soup because the pasta will absorb all of the broth and get mushy.
As time goes by, it will eventually absorb all the broth which is not what you want.
Instead, I make the pasta then drain it and pour olive oil over the pasta to prevent it from sticking to itself. I just set the pasta aside until the soup is ready.
Once the fagioli is ready, I scoop some pasta into a soup bowl and then ladle the soup over the top. This tip is helpful for any soup that calls for pasta in it.
Last fagioli soup tip!
If you were eating this fagioli at my house, you would hear me asking everyone at the table if they remembered to pepper their fagioli before eating it. Copius amounts of freshly ground black pepper is a must when eating this Italian white bean soup.
It doesn't work to add it to the soup while it is cooking; you need to grind a good amount of fresh black pepper over top of your bowl before eating.
Pasta fagioli is an economical and delicious meal that anyone can make. You can stock most of the ingredients for this recipe in your pantry so it is always a quick go-to meal when you are in a hurry but still want something that is delicious and healthy.
I make this fagioli soup in Fall, Winter, and Spring for family and guests and everyone loves it.
Pasta e Fagioli (Italian White Bean Soup)
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- 32 oz box of good quality chicken stock or if you have homemade even better
- 15 oz can of cannellini beans for the puree, drained and rinsed
- 30 oz cans of cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 5 medium sized carrots diced
- 2 celery spears diced
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic finely diced
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and pepper plus more salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated for serving
- 1 Parmesan rind if you save the rinds of your Parmesan then throw that into the soup. If you do not, you can cut the rind off of the block of Parmesan you are using.
- ½ lb ditalini pasta
- 2 tablespoon olive oil for sauteeing
- 2 tablespoon olive oil for puree
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for drizzling over cooked pasta
- Add 2 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot over medium heat.2 tablespoon olive oil for sauteeing
- Once pot is heated add onions, garlic, celery, carrots and red pepper flakes and saute for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent and carrots and celery are slightly softened.5 medium sized carrots, 2 celery spears, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 small yellow onion, a pinch of red pepper flakes
- While the veggies are sauteeing, add one can of cannellini beans that have been drained and rinsed to a food processor (or blender) with 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil and puree until it is smooth. You may need to add water if the paste is too thick and not blending well. When done set aside.15 oz can of cannellini beans, 2 tablespoon olive oil for puree
- Now, add your chicken stock to the pot of sautéing vegetables along with your pureed beans and mix well. The pureed beans will mix in more after heating up in the soup so don't worry about some lumps.32 oz box of good quality chicken stock
- Add the rinsed cannellini beans, diced tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, parmesan rind (if you have one to add) and salt and pepper to taste.32 oz box of good quality chicken stock, 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and pepper, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 bay leaf, 1 Parmesan rind, 30 oz cans of cannellini beans
- Let simmer for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime in another pot boil some water for your ditalini pasta. Cook the pasta per the box instructions.½ lb ditalini pasta
- When the pasta is done strain it and add it to a bowl (not the soup) and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking. Set aside NOTE: If you add the pasta to the soup it will absorb all the soup liquid and expand and eventually you'll be left with no broth.1 tablespoon olive oil for drizzling over cooked pasta
- To serve, place a heaping spoonful of pasta in a soup bowl then add your Fagioli soup over top. Add a ¼ of your freshly grated Parmesan cheese to each bowl. Discard the Parmesan rind and bay leaf before serving.½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Serve with some crusty garlic bread and lots of freshly grated black pepper!
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here