Pasta e Fagioli

Please welcome Hank as he shares a simple Italian classic, pasta e fagioli, or pasta and bean soup. Perfect for Lent if you swap the chicken stock out for veg stock! ~Elise

Pasta fazool. I knew—and loved—this dish years before I knew how to spell it. Growing up in New Jersey, pasta e fagioli is a staple on every red sauce place’s menu, along with spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, alfredo and cannolis. Fazool (which is Neapolitan dialect for the standard Italian word for “beans”) is a peasant dish, a just simple soup of pasta and beans and veggies.

It’s also a dish of a thousand variations. Some cooks’ pasta e fagioli is so thick it’s basically a pasta dish. Some people use so much tomato the fazool looks like a tomato soup with pasta and beans. Sometimes you’ll see white beans, sometimes borlotti beans (basically the same thing as cranberry beans), and sometimes even kidney beans. Once in a while you’ll see meat, either leftover bits of meatloaf or tiny meatballs, like the ones you see in Italian wedding soup.

This version is more of a chicken soup with beans and pasta and a little tomato. You can add more tomato if you’d like. I will often drizzle a little good olive oil over the soup at the end, or grate some parmesan cheese over it.

One thing to remember about this soup: Because it has pasta in it, you either need to eat it all at one sitting, or resign yourself to the fact that the pasta will continue to absorb the soup as it rests in the fridge. So the next day it will be thicker, almost like a French potage. Still good, but different.

Buon appetito!

Pasta e Fagioli on Simply Recipes

Pasta e Fagioli Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

Ditalini pasta is commonly used for pasta e fagioli, but you can use any short pasta — or you can break up vermicelli into small bits.



  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock for vegetarian option
  • 5-6 small peeled tomatoes, broken to pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 pound ditalini pasta
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini or borlotti beans, drained and rinsed (or 3 1/2 cups of freshly cooked beans*)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

* To cook the beans from scratch, start with 1 3/4 cups dry beans. Either soak them overnight in water, or cover them with boiling water and let them sit for an hour, then drain. Place the soaked beans in a pot, cover with two inches of water, bring to a simmer, and cook until tender, about an hour.



1 Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, carrot and celery for 2-3 minutes, until its soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chile flakes and Italian seasoning and saute another minute.

pasta-e-fagioli-2 pasta-e-fagioli-3

2 Add the chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and keep the soup at a strong simmer.


3 When the pasta is al dente, add the beans and cook another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

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Pasta Fazool with Meat, from No Recipes

Copycat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli, from Iowa Girls Eats

A Thicker, Drier Version of Pasta Fagioli, from Dinners for a Year

Pasta e Fagioli on Simply Recipes

View Comments / Leave a Comment


  1. Eva

    What a great looking soup! Actually, since broths or condiments made from meat are permissible on Lenten Fridays, no need to sacrifice with veg broth.

  2. Gloria

    What’s in “Italian Seasoning”?

  3. Bev @ Bev Cooks

    I basically want to massage my soul with this.

  4. Susan

    You sure are right that there are many different recipes for this soup. I have never had it or made it because there are so many different styles of it to choose from that I didn’t know which recipe was considered most authentic. I see it doesn’t matter, which is good to know. Soggy/soft pasta is usually what keeps me from making many large batch soup/stew recipes that call for pasta. I worry, though, that the pasta misses flavoring when cooked separately then added later. I usually sacrafice the flavor because soggy pasta from sucking up too much of the broth in soup disappoints more. Pasta soups are tricky!

    • kathy eichholz

      After the soup is done that’s when I put the pasta in and turn the soup off. The pasta cooks off the stove and it doesn’t get soggy.

    • Hank Shaw

      You can also just boil the pasta separately and add it as needed when you serve. I do this all the time.

      • Lou Doench

        That’s actually one of the best pieces of advice I ever got from Nadia G. I always do noodles separately, especially for anything that will be put in lunches the next day.

    • susan

      Is this soup ever made with a white cream sauce base rather than tomato? My husband was served this type and didn’t like it, claiming it was not the real thing.

  5. Sandy S

    This looks like a keeper! I love the flexiblilty of the ingredients. Makes it easy to work with what is on hand and one’s palate. A little cold weather and some crusty bread and this will be gone, pronto!

  6. Caroline @ Pink Basil

    Love Pasta e Fagoli, it’s one of my favorite soups! This looks like a great version of the dish :)

  7. Katie H.

    Ooh, thanks for this recipe. Since becoming vegetarians, we’re always on the look out for authentic dishes and this is the Italian veggie classic.

    A thought on pasta in soup: since there are only 2 of us, we’ve been freezing half the batch of whatever and saving it for another week. I bet you could pull half the soup out for the freezer, then add half the pasta and half the beans (one can at a time) to the fresh soup, and the second half when you pull out the other batch. Just a thought.

    • Albert Mag

      We always cook the pasta separately , cook i a little firm and under done ..use a good quality like Barilla , the Macaroni goes nice after its cooked strain it well and add a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together..then put your portion in bowl then soup on top …after the meal let all the left overs cool and add the pasta to the soup ..then put in fridge for next day when you can take out what you want to reheat ..or put it in a containor and freeze it

  8. Fernando

    Ideal for eastern days!!!
    kind regards from Spain!

  9. Jessica l Food Wine Fashion

    Born and raised in New Jersey I lived on pasta fagioli….now in Denver I can’t find it anywhere! I’ve tried my hand a couple times but mine comes out too thick and heavy, I like how you incorporate the chicken stock to lighten it up….will definitely add to my list of to-dos!

  10. Kevin

    Our preferred broth in philly is ham or prosciutto based with an end of locatelli or parmesan cheese. We also use only marjoram never oregano.

  11. Liz

    There was a place in Rome, near the Vatican, that served pasta fazool and it was *fantastic* I went there everyday. Their version was more of a smooth bean puree with the pasta mixed in. I think there was prosciutto in there somewhere…
    I just love the mix of beans and pasta. Thanks for this!

  12. Bethany

    Living in northern Italy now for two years with my husband and in the same town as my inlaws, I’ve had many a version of this. So I can comment on the soggy pasta thing. My father in law (the chef between him and his wife) always drains off the liquid from any leftover dish that has pasta in it and stores it in two separate containers in the fridge. Then when you heat it back up, heat the liquid first, then add the solids just to heat through and not cook all over again. I had never done this back in the states, but it makes a lot of sense.
    So good on a cold winter day.
    Thanks Hank!

  13. Hayley

    Can you use canned whole peeled tomatoes?

  14. gabbe

    wow! i haven’t have had pasta e fagioli since i was a kid & my Dad would make it! can’t wait to try it!

  15. Laura Howard

    Thank-you for the perfect lenten dish ! I watched my five children, their spouses and children ask for “thirds please” I made several batches of this. I am so appreciative of othis site which has been my “go to” for so many recipes.
    Blessed Easter to and your readers

  16. Laura

    Someone please comment on substituting barley for the beans (I am allergic to legumes). I was thinking I could omit the pasta and beans and use barley instead. I would not want barley AND pasta as they’re both startches. Of course it would no longer be Pasta e Fagioli, I guess! This soup looks so good to me, I am dying to figure out a way I can enjoy it.

  17. Karen

    Thank you. My husband loved it. So simple and good!

  18. Helana Brigman

    Hank this pasta e fagioli looks delicious. Perfect so a cold or sick day, like it’ll warm you right up. Wonderful recipe, I’ll be sure to make it the next time I’m feeling under the weather.

  19. Anne Smitten

    Delicious recipe! It will probably be my Saturday´s lunch. I have been taking Italian cuisine cooking classes, but somehow it intrigues me that we made the “Italian Seasoning” differently, actually without thyme. Is it possible that they make it like that in a different part of Italy or did our chef just forget it? I have to try it out also to know whether the taste is very different with it.

  20. Kayleigh

    Based on the “for lent” recipe… Is it the same process when using the vegetable stock?? It seems like it wouldn’t be as tender as the chicken would in this recipe. Any ideas? Maybe precook/ personal the vegetable stock?

  21. Sarah

    This is an excellent recipe! Honestly, I wasn’t sure how flavorful it would be given the fairly basic ingredients, but it was amazing. Made it with homemade “garbage” veg stock which I’m sure made a difference, used canned tomatoes, and a pasta more like macaroni because that was all I could find. The Italian seasoning blend may make a difference too – I found an interesting one here (in the UK) that seems different from the ones I used in the US. It contains: marjoram, rosemary, onion, thyme, basil, oregano, garlic, savory and paprika.

  22. Jennifer

    I’ve been wanting to make pasta e fagioli for awhile, but couldn’t make up my mind between all the different variations out there. The simplicity of this recipe got me to finally try it. I’ve made this soup twice now. I couldn’t find ditalini in the local grocery store, so I used something called salad macaroni, which seems to hold up well. The only thing I would change is letting the soup boil for 10 minutes before adding the pasta because the carrots came out a bit crisp both times, and I prefer them to be more tender, at least in soup.

  23. Steven

    Man, I guess there are quite a few recipes and variations out there, huh? Not sure which way would be considered most popular or “authentic,” but I can tell you that in my house, pasta fagioli is most definitely NOT a soup. In fact, when we make pasta fagioli, we expect to be able to hold the bowl upside-down without any falling out, that’s how thick we like it. I’m exaggerating, of course, but not by much. And as far as the carrots and celery and all the other vegetables — never! We’re making pasta fagioli here, pasta and beans, not minestrone eh ? The trick to baking it thick and full of flavor is getting your hands into the pot (clean hands of course) and squeezing, crushing those beans. Don’t mash them and don’t use a fork or food processor — your hands, squeeze them! The flavor also comes from the garlic, of course, a bit of crushed red pepper, and some parmesan cheese. The consistency comes both from crushing the beans and letting the whole thing sit for a little while after it’s been cooked. Anyway, this is the way we’ve always made it and it’s unbelievable — simple, but incredible!

  24. Paleh

    I made this for my Italian husband this past Friday night. He LOVED it; he ate 3 bowlfuls. In addition to the chile flakes, I let a half of a small jalepeno (no seeds) cook into the soup for about 15 minutes, then took the jalepeno out. This time around I also cooked the pasta separately, however the broth does not thicken as much. So I did 2 things to thicken the soup: First, I transferred some of the cooked beans from the cooking pot to a small bowl and used a fork to shmoosh them, then put the shmooshed beans back into the soup. I also stirred in a little of the pasta cooking water once the pasta was cooked to let the soup thicken a bit. To serve, I placed a portion of the cooked pasta in the bottom of the bowl, ladled in the super hot soup over it, sprinkled the parsley and cheese over the top of that, added freshly ground pepper on top of that, and then a TOUCH of olive oil on top. YUM. I agree with Steven’s post that the soup is about the beans and the pasta. IMO using less of the carrot, celery, and onion is the way to go.

  25. marion cushman

    Have you ever heard of Pasta Fagioli with sweet sausage & bacon also added to the soup?

  26. christine

    My family makes this every year after Easter with a left over ham bone. Little bits of ham are found throughout the dish! And we keep the pasta seperate, putting a laddle of it over each serving. And don’t forget the cheese!

  27. Gini Woods

    Just a tip on the pasta. I am single so I make a big pot of soup without the pasta then divide it into servings and freeze them since this soup heats up well. When I am ready for some pasta fagioli, I boil just enough ditalini pasta for that serving. I love my pasta fagioli soupy. Guess we all have our preferences. I also add seasoned ground beef (onions, garlic, salt/pepper).

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