Pasta e Fagioli, AKA Pasta Fazool in many Italian-American communities, is a classic soup that will warm your soul.
It’s a simple, customizable and budget-friendly dish that’s full of great flavors, and will be a hit with the entire family!
Today’s Pasta Fazool is right up there with the best of them… especially when you use my secret ingredient!
Why You’ll LOVE this Recipe
- Rich and Flavorful: Every spoonful of this soup bursts with the flavors of aromatic herbs, savory ground beef, and vegetables, all simmered in a delightful tomato-based broth.
- Comfort in a Bowl: Pasta e Fagioli is the epitome of comfort food. It’s warm, hearty, and incredibly satisfying, making it perfect for cozy nights in or to warm up during colder months.
- Nutritious and Filling: This dish isn’t just delicious, it’s also loaded with nutrients. You get a good balance of proteins from the beef and beans, carbs from the pasta, and a variety of vitamins and minerals from the vegetables.
- Versatile and Customizable: Whether you prefer a lighter version with chicken or turkey, or a richer flavor with Italian sausage, this recipe is highly adaptable. You can also switch up the pasta shapes or use different beans or veggies to suit your taste.
- Easy and Economical: Pasta Fazool is straightforward to make and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. It’s an excellent option for a filling family meal without breaking the bank.
- Leftovers Taste Even Better: This is one of those wonderful dishes where the flavors deepen and meld when left to sit, making leftovers something to look forward to.
What is Pasta Fazool?
Pasta Fazool, more traditionally known as Pasta e Fagioli, is a classic Italian soup that translates to “pasta and beans.” The name “Pasta Fazool” comes from the Neapolitan dialect, which was brought to America by Italian immigrants and became a popular term in Italian-American communities.
This hearty and comforting dish has its roots in the rural, peasant cuisine of Italy. It was originally a meatless meal, made with inexpensive ingredients that were readily available.
Over time, as it got integrated into different regional cuisines, various adaptations emerged, with some versions including meats like pancetta or ground beef.
It gained widespread popularity when it became one of the signature soups on the Olive Garden menu.
For a complete list, along with exact measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post. Here are the main things you’re going to need to make Pasta e Fagioli:
- Onion, Carrots, and Celery – These vegetables form the classic “soffritto” base.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic is preferred for the best flavor. If unavailable, garlic powder can be used in a pinch.
- Ground Beef – This can be substituted with ground turkey, chicken, or Italian sausage for different flavors. For a vegetarian version, omit the meat or use a plant-based substitute.
- Tomatoes – Both diced and tomato sauce. For the diced, we prefer fire roasted for more depth of flavor.
- Dried Herbs (Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Rosemary) – Fresh herbs can be used if you have them on hand. The ratio is 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs to 1 teaspoon of dried.
- Crushed Red Pepper – Adjust the amount to your preference for heat.
- Beans (Red Kidney and Cannellini) – Feel free to use other beans, though these are most traditional.
- Chicken Broth – Vegetable broth can be used for a vegetarian version. Beef broth works for a richer flavor.
- Ditalini Pasta: Other small pasta shapes like orzo, elbow macaroni, or small shells can be used.
- Secret Ingredient – Parmesan rind! Yes, you should always hang onto leftover parmesan rinds, because they work wonders in soups. That being said, if you don’t have one, don’t let that stop you from trying this soup!
Pasta e Fagioli Soup Recipe
1. Sauté aromatics: Heat oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté your onion, carrots and celery until they become soft and aromatic. Add in garlic for a minute.
2. Brown the meat: Add in ground beef and crumble it up. Cook until it is no longer pink.
3. Simmer tomatoes: Add in tomatoes along with herbs. Let them cook for about five minutes.
4. Create the broth: Add in beans, chicken broth, bay leaf and parmesan rind. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. If time allows, go ahead and simmer for longer to let the flavors to develop even more.
5. Cook the pasta: Stir in pasta.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Meat Options: Experiment with different types of meat like ground turkey, ground chicken, or even Italian sausage for a different flavor profile.
- Vegetarian Version: Skip the meat entirely and perhaps add more beans or vegetables like zucchini or spinach for a hearty vegetarian dish.
- Different Beans: Try any of your favorite bean varieties. Chick peas go very well here.
- Spicy Version: Add more red pepper flakes, chopped jalapeños, or hot sauce for a spicy kick.
- Creamy Texture: For a creamier soup, add a splash of cream or a dollop of sour cream before serving.
Storage and Reheating
Pasta e Fagioli refrigerates well for 4-5 days. First, allow it to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container for refrigeration.
It can also be frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container. Just thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
Reheat the soup in a pan on stovetop over medium heat until heated through. Note that the pasta will have absorbed some of the liquid, so you may wish to add some water to regain the soupy consistency.
Tips for the BEST Pasta and Bean Soup
- Sauté Vegetables Properly: Take time to slowly sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until they are softened. This step builds a flavor base for the soup. If you use too high of heat, they can caramelize, which will change the flavor of the soup.
- Brown the Meat Well: Make sure to brown the meat properly. This not only cooks the meat but also adds a rich depth to the soup.
- Simmer Slowly: Let the soup simmer gently. Rushing this process can affect the melding of flavors. If time allows, simmer for longer before adding the pasta.
- Adjust Seasoning at the End: Salt levels can change as the soup cooks, especially if you’re using canned beans and broth. Adjust the salt and pepper just before serving.
- Mind the Consistency: Pasta e Fagioli is traditionally not too thick or too thin. Add more broth if it’s too thick or let it simmer longer if too thin.
- Rest the Soup: Allowing the soup to rest for a bit before serving can enhance the flavors, as they continue to meld and develop.
Curl up with a big bowl of our Pasta Fazool soup, we’re sure you’ll relish every bite.
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Pasta Fazool, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 15oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 15oz can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 15oz can red kidney beans, drained
- 1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 inch parmesan rind (optional)
- ¾ cup ditalini pasta
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- fresh parsley, for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery. Sauté until the vegetables become soft, stirring frequently to avoid browning them.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add ground beef and crumble with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until no pink remains.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary and crushed red pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add in beans, chicken broth, bay leaf and parmesan rind. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in pasta. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Serve in bowls garnished with fresh parsley.
- The same recipe can be followed replacing the beef with ground chicken or turkey for a lighter dish. Or you can use crumbled Italian sausage for deeper flavors.
- Ditalini can be replaced with other small shapes such as orzo, elbow macaroni, or small shells.
- The individual herbs can be replaced with 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning. Or, if you have fresh herbs, use 1 tablespoon of fresh in place of 1 teaspoon of dried.
- The parmesan rind is optional, but it adds great flavor and thickness to the soup. Any remaining portion that does not melt can be discarded.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 470Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 71mgSodium 1664mgCarbohydrates 47gFiber 11gSugar 9gProtein 37g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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