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.

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


  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin 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 chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock for vegetarian option
  • 1 cup chopped 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
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


1 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.

sautéed veggies for pasta fazool

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

Adding stock to veggies for pasta fagioli How to make pasta e fagioli - adding noodles

3 Add beans, parsley: 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.

stirring pasta fazool

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  • Linda

    As Laura did, I cooked the pasta separately so was able to freeze the soup for future consumption as I am only cooking for two seniors with small appetites. It Is fantastic when thawed and reheated.


  • Laura

    I cook the pasta separate and only add it to each serving. That way leftovers keep easier. DELICIOUS!


  • Debbie McCarrick

    When we were little it was a given that as soon as the Christmas ham was almost gone my Dad would make Pasta Fazool, (we are Neopolitan based). I cannot imagine having it any other way without a ham broth where the bone has simmered a lengthy time and the remaining bits fall off into the broth. Aside from the chile flakes and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan when serving, this is his recipe. : )

  • Cecilia

    I agree with one of ur viewers, when freezing do not add liquid to cooked pasta, will absorb mostly all of the liquid, better to stir in liquid when ready to b served,.

  • Nick Sciorsci

    I have always made pasta e fagioli as a pasta dish rather than a soup adding escarole and sausage for increased depth of flavor.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Nick, great idea! I especially love the idea of adding escarole. Such an under-appreciated green.

  • Cathy Nance

    I have made my own version of this soup for years. A tip for the overdone pasta problem: cook the pasta separately. Use a little olive oil to coat the pasta so it doesn’t stick together, & store it in a ziplock bag. You can add the desired amount to the soup when you warm it up.

  • Judy Clark

    I made this soup today with a few tweaks – it is delicious. Just a tip about the pasta absorbing the liquid : make the pasta separately, then add it as you serve it, for perfect results.

  • Wendy

    I would love to make this soup however as I am allergic to
    tomatoes Can I make it without the tomatoes ??????

    • Athena

      I don’t see why not. Recipes don’t have to be exact you can add or omit any ingredient you wish.

  • Deborah

    I made this recipe for lunch today, and it was fantastic! Thank you for sharing.


  • Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    What can I say: this is fantastic!
    I could never say no to pasta e fagioli. This is a fab recipe I could have any day of the week. I grew up eating this and looking at your photo it makes my mouth water.

  • Wendy

    I love reading different Pasta e Fagoli recipes. I’ve been making my mother’s version for 25 years.
    I make a large batch because it’s always better the next few days as the flavors continue to meld. So, I simply cook the ditalini separately and everyone adds what they want to their bowl first, and then the soup gets ladled on top.

  • Hannah

    don’t know if you’ll reply but when do you add the potatoes?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Hannah, there are no potatoes in the recipe. There are tomatoes in the recipe that you add in step 2.

  • 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).

    • dale goodloe

      This is a great suggestion. I do the same thing when I make chicken noodle soup or any soup with noodles or pasta.

  • 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!

  • marion cushman

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Karen

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


  • 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.

  • 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


  • Hayley

    Can you use canned whole peeled tomatoes?

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!


  • 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.

      • Nancy Long

        I’ve never seen it with a cream sauce – always a tomato based one

  • Gloria

    What’s in “Italian Seasoning”?

    • Hank Shaw

      It varies, but oregano, parsley, basil and thyme.

  • 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.

    • Pat

      Sacrifice? Veg stock is delicious and great for you.