Pasta E Fagioli Soup Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Pasta E Fagioli Soup Recipe

Pasta e fagioli is the soup of my childhood and the first soup I ever learned how to make.  It was my father’s favorite so we ate it often, usually on a Monday night because on Sundays we had a pretty big meal.  Sometimes my mom put a piece of salt pork in the soup and used water, other times a small parmesan rind.  We usually ate it with bread and a wedge of cheese and some fruit afterwards.  Pretty simple, and I am craving that simplicity again. Everyone loves this soup and I know you will too!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s a one pot meal;
  • Inexpensive;
  • Uses pantry staples; 
  • Flexible – easy to make vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or grain-free;
  • Delicious and comforting all year round.

Ingredients

  • Onion – I like to start off soups with onion. You can use white or yellow onion. 
  • Carrot – you can use a large carrot or two small carrots. Feel free to peel or not. 
  • Celery – you’ll need 2 stalks of celery. 
  • Garlic – I use 4 garlic cloves in this recipe. A helpful meal  prep tip is to keep a jar of peeled garlic in the fridge. I usually do this on the weekends and peel enough garlic to last me throughout the week. 
  • Smoked paprika – is different from regular paprika. It’s not spicy, but it does add a nice smoky flavor. If you eat pork, you can add diced pancetta or a piece or bacon in place of the smoked paprika. I would add this to the pot after the vegetables have sautéed in step 1. Sauté pork for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Tomato paste – My favorite tomato paste comes in a glass jar from Bionaturae. You can also use 1 cup of chopped canned tomatoes (without the juice) if you don’t have tomato paste on hand. A nice hack if you tend to use tomato paste sparingly is to freeze spoonfuls of it in tablespoon sizes on a parchment lined plate. After it’s completely solid, transfer the frozen tomato paste spoonfuls to a sealed container and store in the freezer until needed. 
  • White beans – I use either cooked white beans in this recipe or Borlotti beans (shown here.) You can use Cannellini, Great Northern, Borlotti beans (aka cranberry beans) or even Pinto beans. If you use 2 (15 oz) cans, drain the beans, but no need to rinse. 
  • Stock – I usually make big batches of chicken and vegetable stock and freeze in quantities I will use (for example: 2- and 4-cup containers). There are some great prepared stocks out there like Bonafide, Stock Options, and Kettle & Fire to name a few. Just be sure to read your labels. 
  • Small pasta – I recommend using a small pasta such as ditalini, small elbows, or you can even use broken up pasta bits.  I used cavatelli here.
  • Parsley – I like adding some finely chopped parsley at the end for garnish. It adds a nice pop of color. 

How to make it? 

  1. Warm oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and sauté until onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, smoked paprika, and tomato paste and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add beans, salt and 7 cups stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Pull 2 cups worth of soup out of the pot. Make sure you get some beans in there. Blend in a blender until smooth. Pour back in the pot and bring the soup up to a boil. Add the pasta and cook in the soup until perfectly tender. Check the package for cook time. Stir in parsley.
  4. Taste for seasoning. Serve with Parmesan cheese and/or another drizzle of olive oil if desired. 

Tips 

  • You can opt to increase the quantity of beans to 3 cans and lower the amount of pasta. Or you can add less pasta and add more vegetables like dark green leafies or something in season. 
  • This soup will thicken considerably as it sits which is why it’s nice to have a little extra stock to think out leftovers. 
  • I usually time this soup so I serve it 20-30 minutes after the pasta is perfectly cooked.  It thickens up nicely.  

Substitutions

  • Smoked paprika – regular paprika or 1/4 – 1/2 cup diced pancetta or bacon (if you eat pork)
  • Tomato paste – 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes without the juice
  • Beans – white beans (Cannelini or Great Northern) or Borlotti beans (aka cranberry beans)
  • Stock – chicken, vegetable, or beef stock
  • Pasta – small pasta such as ditalini, small elbows, or broken pasta bits. My favorite GF pasta is Jovial brown rice pasta or Jovial red-lentil and brown rice pasta. Jovial also has a great grain-free cassava pasta and Banza makes a good grain-free chickpea pasta.  If you go with a pasta substitute like hearts of palm or shirataki, I would reduce the stock by a cup so that the soup isn’t too brothy.

Other recipes you may like

*White bean soup with sausage and collard greens 

*Potato and bean soup (patate e fagioli) 

*Broccoli and white bean soup

*Porcini, greens, and bean soup

*Cranberry bean (aka borlotti bean) soup

 

If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag @pamelasalzman so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Subscribe for free to my site for the latest recipes,  updates and things I’m loving lately.  If you enjoy this recipe, I taught it last year in my online class!  Give me an hour a month, and I’ll make you a better, healthier cook! 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Pasta E Fagioli Soup
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup unrefined cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot or 2 small carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Pinch of smoked paprika*
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste or 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes (no juice)
  • 3 cups cooked white beans (e.g. Cannellini or Great Northern) or Borlotti beans (aka cranberry beans) - if you use 2 (15-ounce) cans, drain the beans, no need to rinse
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt, depending on sodium content of the stock
  • 8 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock, divided (some people use beef stock)
  • 1 ¾ cups small pasta, such as ditalini, small elbows or broken pasta bits, about 7 ounces
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Instructions
  1. Warm oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and sauté until onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, smoked paprika, and tomato paste and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add beans, salt and 7 cups stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Pull 2 cups worth of soup out of the pot. Make sure you get some beans in there. Blend in a blender until smooth. Pour back in the pot and bring the soup up to a boil. Add the pasta and cook in the soup until perfectly tender. Check the package for cook time. Stir in parsley.
  4. Taste for seasoning. Serve with Parmesan cheese and/or another drizzle of olive oil if desired.
Notes
*Traditionally, a little diced pancetta or a piece of salt pork is used in this soup. I don’t eat pork, so a pinch of smoked paprika just adds that bit of smokiness. Feel free to add ¼ to ½ cup of diced pancetta (or bacon) to the pot after the vegetables have been sautéed in Step 1. Sauté for about 5-10 minutes.

 

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness! This soup is delicious! I used homemade vegetable stock and added a parmesan rind. Another great recipe Pamela! Thanks for being out there!

    • Yum! Love the addition of a parmesan rind in this soup. Delighted to hear it was a hit.

  2. This is so easy and tastes great. My husband always orders this out, so he was impressed with my first stab at it. Served it for meatless Monday two weeks in a row! Thank you!

    • Amazing!! This is one of those great back-pocket recipes to have.


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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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