Pasta Fagioli: An Italian Staple
Pasta e fagioli, or just pasta fagioli. 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.
Pasta fagioli, aka pasta fazool (which is Neapolitan dialect for the standard Italian word for "beans"), is a peasant dish, a simple soup of pasta and beans and veggies.
Variations of Pasta Fagioli
It's also a dish of a thousand variations. Some cooks make a pasta e fagioli that's 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.
My Pasta Fagioli
This pasta fagioli 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.
Pasta Tip for Pasta Fagioli
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. (Also because of the pasta, this soup doesn't freeze very well.)
Can You Freeze Pasta Fagioli?
You can freeze this soup, but when it's defrosted the pasta will have broken down some and have a different - and not very appealing - texture. If you want to freeze some of this soup, or any other soup with pasta such as minestrone, do not cook the pasta in the soup. Cook it separately and add it to the soup right before serving. That way, whatever portion you freeze will not have pasta in it, and cooked pasta can be added after this soup has been defrosted and reheated.
More Easy Soups for Chilly Weather
- Vegan Chickpea Minestrone
- Split Pea Soup
- One-Pot Chicken and Rice Soup
- Ham and Potato Soup
- Vegan Mushroom Barley Soup
Pasta e Fagioli
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 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large celery rib, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian option)
1 cup peeled tomatoes, fresh or canned
1/2 pound ditalini pasta
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini or borlotti beans, drained and rinsed (or 3 1/2 cups freshly cooked beans)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sauté the vegetables:
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, carrot and celery for 2 to 3 minutes, until its soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chili flakes and Italian seasoning and sauté another minute.
Add the stock, tomatoes, and pasta:
Add the chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and keep the soup at a strong simmer.
Add the beans and parsley:
When the pasta is al dente, add the beans and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 11g||14%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||10%|
|Total Carbohydrate 57g||21%|
|Dietary Fiber 9g||33%|
|Total Sugars 8g|
|Vitamin C 11mg||54%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|