You’re going to love my Pasta Fagioli soup, loaded with ditalini pasta, cannellini beans, pancetta, vegetables and a deliciously flavorful tomato broth this hearty soup is the perfect addition to your dinner table!
If you’ve never heard of this Classic Italian Soup, let me start by sharing how to pronounce its name correctly. Can you say Pasta Fazool?
This easy to make traditional Italian soup is a satisfying dish that will warm your body and your soul, it’s the ultimate comfort food.
There are as many pasta Fagioli soup recipes as there are Italian grandmothers and each one will have its own special touch, so feel free to adjust the recipe.
Ingredients to make Pasta Fagioli
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Pasta Fagioli. In Chef Speak this is called the “Mise en Place” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
I use whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes (crushing them by hand or with an immersion blender) for all my cooking, but you can substitute your favorite crushed tomatoes or even tomato sauce (not pasta sauce).
*If you’re not a fan of heat, leave out the red pepper flakes.
Can I add meat to pasta Fagioli?
Yes, you can. The Olive Garden version has meat in it. You can use ground beef, ground turkey, or sweet, or spicy sausage in your soup.
Bacon can also be substituted for the pancetta.
How do I make Pasta Fagioli?
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, add the olive oil and the pancetta. Cook until the pancetta is beginning to crisp. Remove the pancetta and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Save until needed.
- Add the celery., carrot, onion, and leek to the pot. Allow the veggies to cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the pancetta back into the pot along with the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the hand-crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper to the soup pot. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes
- Add the cannellini beans and al dente pasta to the soup and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes
- Reduce the heat to low, add the thinly sliced chard (or greens of your choice) and Romano cheese (or freshly grated parmesan cheese) to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes.
*If you want to keep the soup vegetarian substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth.
The soup is finished except for one final taste to make sure the seasonings are good. Adjust the seasonings as needed.
*If you aren’t going to use all the soup at one setting, or intend to freeze some of the soup, DO NOT ADD all the pasta to the pot. Instead, place the pasta in the serving bowls and ladle the very hot soup over it.
Garnish the Pasta Fagioli with ribbons of chard, grated Romano cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
This soup is the perfect light dinner, lunch or starter for an Italian feast!
No, you don’t. Cannellini or Borlotti Beans are the usual choices for pasta Fagioli, but you can use great northern beans or garbanzo beans (which makes it pasta e ceci), navy beans and even pinto beans.
No, you don’t. Different regions make this classic Italian soup differently. Some recipes don’t call for tomatoes. Just add extra broth to make up for the tomatoes.
Ditalini is the preferred pasta for this Italian soup, but you can use any small pasta shape such as Tubetti, Anelli, small macaroni, or small shells can be used as a substitute.
I made this hearty soup. It was delicious!!! I added a few of my own tweaks. I didn’t have any pancetta, so I used bacon. I also used just a little of pasta sauce that I had leftover and, crushed up some leftover meatballs. I couldn’t get warm that day, but after I devoured the soup, my innards were warmed up. Thank you so much for your recipe! I will continue to follow up on your great recipes. Thanks again Chef Dennis.
Chef Dennis Littley
I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the soup and that used what you had on hand and tweaked it to your preferences! Thats what cooking is all about!
Just like my Grandma-s! What fond memories!
Chef Dennis Littley
I’m happy to hear my pasta Fagioli was as good as your Grandma!
This soup was fabulous! The only thing I did differently was I cooked it little bit longer than the recipe called for. The aroma was amazing! Thank you for sharing!