Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Bean Soup)

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This Authentic Italian Pasta e Fagioli Recipe (soup) is a warm and satisfying soup that will feed your soul and tummy! A classic soup made with- small pasta, beans (fagioli), pancetta, and simple veggies in a delicious broth, making this soup the perfect comfort meal.

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If you love authentic Italian recipes, check out my Lasagna Bolognese, Neopletan Pizza Dough, and Traditional Tiramisu.

Authentic Italian Pasta e Fagioli Recipe (sometimes called pasta fazool) is a classic Italian soup that’s perfect for getting into the autumn or fall season spirit! In Italy we call it a “peasant dish” this is our traditional Italian pasta Fagioli recipe that we’ve made for years.

Tender white beans, wholesome pasta, a medley of fragrant diced veggies, and a flavorful tomato broth make this delicious bean soup is a classic comfort meal for the cold weather time of year.

Fill up your soup bowls and prepare a meal the whole family will love.

More Italian soups you’ll love: Italian Pastina Soup Recipe, Classic Italian Minestrone Soup, Italian Wedding Soup Recipe, Tomato Soup Recipe, Italian Beans and Greens Recipe, Pasta e Ceci, Copycat Panera Autumn Squash Soup, Avgolemono Soup, and Zuppa Toscana.

Simple Ingredients

The best part is that you likely have all these ingredients as pantry items and refrigerator staples!

ingredient shot for recipe
  • Italian Beans Borlotti (or Roman beans also use- kidney beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans)
  • Pasta (small pasta shape)
  • Pancetta (or bacon)
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Parmigiano Reggiano or grated parmesan cheese for topping

See the recipe card for quantities and the full recipe.

How To Make Pasta e Fagioli

Italian cooking is simple and humble. The steps are easy, and the fresh ingredients shine.

how to make: saute vegetables and bacon

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, bacon, onions, carrots, celery, and rosemary. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and starting to brown, stirring occasionally.

How to make: add half of beans and crushed tomates

Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add half the drained and rinsed beans, crushed tomatoes, and chicken stock.

How to make: add pureed beans to soup and mix

Use a small blender to puree the other half of the beans and add them back to the pot. 

How to make: add short pasta to soup and cook

Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, and add the pasta and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Simmer, covered, until pasta is cooked al dente (about 10 minutes).

Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil—season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, serve with freshly grated parmigiano cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

Big pot of pasta e fagioli ready to serve

FAQ’s

What is pasta e fagioli soup?

Pasta e Fagioli – pronounced “pasta e fah-dgioh-lee – is a traditional Italian soup made of pasta (pasta) and beans (fagioli). It is sometimes called pasta fazool (or fasul) in the US, derived from its Neapolitan name pasta e fasule.

What’s the difference between Italian Minestrone Soup and Pasta e Fagioli Soup?

Minestrone Soup and Pasta e Fagioli are two similar Italian soups. The main difference is in the vegetables. While minestrone soup features a wide variety of vegetables, pasta e fagioli emphasizes pasta and beans. The latter is usually thicker and more stew-like than minestrone. Minestrone soup does not always have pasta, while authentic Italian pasta e fagioli recipe does.

Is pasta e fagioli an authentic Italian soup?

Yes! Pasta e fagioli is an authentic Italian soup. Pasta e fagioli, is an Italian bean soup traditionally considered a peasant dish due to its humble list of ingredients—cannelloni beans, Italian soffritto, stewed tomatoes, short pasta, olive oil, and sometimes garlic.

What pasta is best for this recipe?

For this pasta e Fagioli soup, I highly recommend short kinds of pasta or small pasta shapes and varieties for this soup. Here is a helpful guide to help match your pasta and sauce.
This dish is rustic, hearty, inexpensive, and good for a cold fall evening. Names of pasta options for Pasta e Fagioli Soup recipe:
Ditalini Pasta, Small Shells, Small pasta tubes, Macaroni Shells (elbows)

Which beans work best in this recipe?

This authentic Italian pasta e Fagioli recipe is traditionally made with Borlotti beans.
In Italy, you buy pre-made packages with this soup mix. The kits included dry pasta, spices, and dried Borlotti beans, known as cranberry beans or Roman beans here in the US.
Borlotti, Roman beans, or Cranberry beans, are creamy and tender, with a chestnut-like flavor, making them the perfect addition to this soup!
You can also use these bean varieties:
Pinto beans, Cannellini beans, Great Northern Beans, White kidney beans

can you use canned beans?

Yes, you can! It sure makes it easier :). Cooking your beans tastes better and is usually more wholesome that way. If you prefer the convenience of just opening a can, do that!
In this recipe, I used canned Italian beans to make it easier, quicker, and more accessible to those that have less time. When I have more time- I like to use dried beans.

can i use dried beans?

Rinse and pick over half a pound of dried beans of choice, and soak them overnight (a minimum of 8 hours) before using. 
When it’s time to cook, drain the beans and, rinse, and proceed with the recipe as written. 
Note: It will take a bit longer for the soaked beans to become tender, and you may need to add a little water if they absorb too much. Plan on cooking the dried beans between 20 and 30 minutes at a minimum.

What makes this Recipe Authentic

This simple and authentic pasta e Fagioli recipe is one that my nonna prepared often with basic ingredients she had on hand. I still remember her stirring it with her wooden spoon. It was a meal prepared at home for our family and not one she made for guests. Similar to Authentic Pasta Carbonara Recipe.

Nowadays, however, this hearty soup is widely popular and can be seen on restaurant menus all over Italy. It is mainly enjoyed in the colder months and popular in northern and southern Italy.

bowl of pasta e fagioli with red pot in the background.

If you like pasta and bean soups, you may also like Pasta e Ceci (Italian Pasta with Chickpea Soup) and Stovetop White Chicken Chili.

bowl of pasta e fagioli with a spoon and sprig of rosemary on side.
bowl of pasta e fagioli on grey background.

Variations

You can try the authentic Italian pasta e fagioli recipe the first time and always try a variation the next time you make it!

  • Spicy – add red pepper flakes to level up the heat in the soup.
  • Deluxe – add cooked Italian sausage to up the protein.
  • Garnish – add a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley before serving. cook with a bay leaf to add an aromatic note to the bean soup
  • Cheese – feel free to sprinkle pecorino romano cheese instead of, or in combination with, the parmigiano cheese.
  • To make the vegetarian version: omit the pancetta/bacon and use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken broth! Easy. You won’t get the extra flavor from the smoked meat, but you could substitute a drop of liquid smoke to add that taste.
  • For a vegan version, use vegetable stock or vegetable broth and omit the parmesan cheese for the topping.
  • For both options: make sure you compensate for the omission of pancetta and chicken stock by using a little bit more salt.
  • This heart soup recipe is filling just as a bean soup without the meat!

Suggested Tools

I love to use a large enamel braising pot for pasta e Fagioli soup. I also use this pot for my Trottole Pasta Recipe with Tomato Sauce and Shrimp recipe.

You can also use a large stock pot if you are doubling this recipe.

I love to use a small blender like my Magic Bullet to quickly puree the beans for the bean mixture in this Pasta e Fagioli Soup Recipe.

Contains affiliate links.

Storing and Reheating

Refrigerator

Pasta e fagioli soup is even better the next day! The soup will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

Freezing

Pasta e Fagioli makes a freezer-friendly recipe- except for the pasta! Pasta doesn’t freeze well and gets mushy when thawed and reheated. Yuck.

If you must freeze, do it before adding the pasta. Then, add the cooked pasta directly to the reheated soup and serve!

Reheating

The pasta will absorb the liquid as it sits, so when you are ready to reheat, add broth or water. Gently warm over medium-low heat, adding the liquid until the soup is warm and back to its original consistency.

pot of pasta e fagioli with bread on the side and grey napkin.

What To Serve With This Recipe

Pasta e Fagioli soup is one of those hearty soups that already contains all you would want in a meal: meat (pancetta), veggies, beans, and pasta.

However, some crusty bread is a must so that you can soak up all the delicious broth! You can serve Best Italian Zucchini Fritters (easy recipe), or Easy Bruschetta Recipe with Mozzarella and Tomato Basil as appetizers if you desire!

Top tip

  • Take time to blend a cup of the beans to thicken the broth. It’s a little extra step that goes a long way for the beans and pasta soup recipe. It adds a delicious taste, and it is what we do in Italy!

More Italian Soup Recipes

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bowl of soup in bowl with spoon and side of bread.

Pasta e Fagioli Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 35 reviews

This Authentic Italian Pasta e Fagioli Recipe (soup) is a warm and satisfying soup that will feed your soul and tummy! A classic soup made with- small pasta, beans, pancetta and simple veggies in a delicious broth, making this soup the perfect comfort meal.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 6 oz. pancetta diced (or bacon, see notes for vegetarian option)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, petite diced
  • 2 ribs celery, petite diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 115 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock/broth (or beef or vegetable broth, or water, or a combination)
  • 2 cans (30 oz) Italian Beans Borlotti (also known as Roman/Cranberry beans. You can also use- kidney beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans)
  • 8 oz. small pasta such as shells, ditalini, or macaroni
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated parmigiano regiano or parmesan cheese, for topping

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta or bacon, onions, carrots, celery, and rosemary. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and starting to brown, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add HALF of the drained and rinsed cannellini beans, crushed tomatoes, and the chicken stock.
  4. Use a blender to puree the other half of the beans and add them back to the pot. 
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, and add the rest of the beans and the pasta, as well as the 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Simmer, covered, until pasta is cooked al dente (about 10-12 minutes).
  6. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with freshly grated parmigiano cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired. 

Notes

Storing:

Refrigerator

Bonus: this soup is even better the next day! The soup will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, if stored in an airtight container.

Freezing

Pasta e fagioli makes a freezer-friendly recipe except for the pasta. Pasta doesn’t freeze well and gets mushy when thawed and reheated. Yuck.

If you must freeze, do it before adding the pasta. Then, add the cooked pasta directly to the reheated soup and serve!

Reheating

The pasta will absorb the liquid as it sits, so when you are ready to reheat, make sure to add extra broth, or extra water. Gently warm over medium-low heat, adding the liquid until the soup is warm and back to its original consistency.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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79 Comments

  1. Hi Elena, would love to know which region of Italy this recipe is from! Theres a ton of variations and I’m attempting to catalogue them to the best of my ability

    1. Hi Cole, I am from Cagliari, Sardegna, and this is how my family makes pasta e fagioli. I will say that in every region and even town to town certain classic Italian recipes vary a little bit. Overall, this is a classic and authentic recipe that my Italian family uses- for those that follow recipes ;)!

      1. Elena, I really enjoyed reading Your Family Recipe. This is also My family recipe from my grand mother, my mother, to me at 80 yrs old I still make this. This was known as a poor mans meal. When the Italians came to USA late 1800’s into early 1900’s by the boat loads, most were very poor. When they found work, they would rent beds in private family homes when the husbands/children left for work/school, the renter would sleep in those rented beds when he got off work, which brought extra needed income to that home owner. This is how they survived and saved money to send for their families to come to America, as nothing was free then, no hand outs. Not like today. Work a honest day wages. When they were building the RR across America, the main meal was pasta e Fagioli as was so cheap to make and so hardy with Proteins and used ”dry beans.” I remember hearing the stories as a child how the RR had 1 car especially for the workers, it was their private cooking car for the workers. They ate this meal many times during the week as was so cheap to make and nourishing. We couldn’t afford bacon we never had it with bacon. Now I can afford bacon, I prefer it without. I do make it with ground beef from time to time. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Reading your recipe Brought back the old days.. A pointer for left overs.. Yes past absorbs liquid. My mother would make a very large pot of the broth liquid, take half, put it away for another day. What ever was left of the pasta e fagioli next day she would just take the extra broth and add it to this and heat it up. She would also can it, the entire broth and veggie part with ”NO PASTA IN THE CANNING JARS.” When ready to pull a jar off the shelf, she would then add pasta to it on the stove. If you can any pasta, it turns to mush. Thanks..

      2. Ciao Marie, I loved your family story and connection to this recipe! Thanks for the tip on the leftovers. I always love to learn how other people do things.

  2. So good stuff, easy to cock, choose good ingrediens. In the italian kitchen the ingrediens are the king, not the chef 😉






  3. Absolutely the best homemade pasta fagloli I’ve made from scratch! I followed your recipe to the letter. Previously, I’ve relied on bacon but just couldn’t get same flavor that I recall from my grandmother’s recipe. Pancetta is my new ‘go to’ for this soup. Thank you for sharing this recipe! 👍






    1. Hi Ginger, So happy you loved the recipe. It is a well-loved recipe here as well. I hope it keeps you warm this winter season.

  4. I’ve been making another recipe for pasta e fagioli for several years, but this recipe one will replace my previous one. I made it for my parents along with the ciabatta bread, and they loved it. I used bacon and only had half the cannellini beans needed, but it was still delicious. Also used San Manzano tomatoes from my garden that I blended before adding.






    1. Hi Mary, what an honor this will be your go-to recipe. We love it so much as well and it is perfect with the ciabatta bread. Many more yummy recipes coming your way!
      Best,
      Elena

  5. Growing up in the 40s we ate this often and even now. My mother and now me, make it thicker with less broth. Like to put chop raw onions on top. Great recipe.