Pasta e Fagioli

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

Teeming with vegetables, legumes, and pasta, this hearty pasta e fagioli soup is perfect for chilly nights.

Pasta e Fagioli soup

Pasta e fagioli — literally “pasta and beans” — is a heartwarming Italian soup, perfect for a chilly night. There are countless recipes but this one, given to me by my dear friend Tracy Santoro and adapted from Chef Joe Cicala’s recipe in The Washington Post, is the best I’ve tried.

The base of the soup is made with pancetta, vegetables and white wine, which add tremendous depth of flavor, and the broth is thickened slightly with puréed beans, which makes it rich and satisfying. Serve it with Rosemary Focaccia and a Big Italian Salad — I promise, it will warm you up and make you happy!

What you’ll need to Make Pasta e Fagioli

ingredients for pasta e fagioli

Before we get started, a few words about the ingredients. Pancetta is simply Italian bacon. Instead of being smoked like American bacon, it is cured with salt and spices and then dried. You can find it in the deli at most supermarkets or precut and packaged in the refrigerated gourmet foods aisle, which is a great time saver.

For the wine, be sure to use something inexpensive but still good enough to drink (no supermarket cooking wine!). Since the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup, feel free to use one of those mini bottles sold in packs of four — they are great for keeping on hand for cooking.

For the lentils, I prefer French green lentils (or lentilles du Puy) because they hold their shape when cooked (you can always find them at Whole Foods) but if you can’t get them, any brown or green lentils are fine.

cooking pancetta for pasta e fagioli

Begin by heating the olive oil in a large pot. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat begins to render, about 5 minutes.

cooked pancetta for pasta e fagioli

Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the onions become translucent.

adding veggies to pot for pasta e fagioli

Pour in the white wine and cook until almost evaporated.

adding wine to pot for pasta e fagioli

Next, add the broth, salt, pepper, beans lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves and rosemary.

adding beans and broth to pasta e fagioli

Bring to a boil.

simmering pasta e fagioli

Then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 20-30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you used.

after simmering pasta e fagioli

Use a slotted spoon to transfer about one cup of the beans and a little broth to a blender.

beans in blender for pasta e fagioli

Purée until smooth and set aside.

pureed beans in blender for pasta e fagioli

Meanwhile, add the dried pasta to the simmering broth.

adding pasta to pasta e fagioli

Cook until the pasta is tender, then add the reserved bean purée back to the pot. The broth will be slightly thickened from both the pasta starch and the bean purée.

finished pasta e fagioli

If the soup seems too thick, thin it with a bit of water. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

stirring in cheese for pasta e fagioli

Ladle the pasta e fagioli into bowls. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired. Enjoy!

pasta e fagioli in serving bowl

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Pasta Fagioli

Teeming with vegetables, legumes, and pasta, this hearty pasta e fagioli soup is perfect for chilly nights.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 2 medium ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans cannellini beans or chickpeas (or combination), rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed (preferably French green lentils, but any green or brown lentils are fine)
  • 1 cup diced or chopped canned tomatoes, with their juices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 cup dried pasta, such as elbow macaroni or ditalini (whole wheat is fine)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat begins to render, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot and celery and increase the heat to medium; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  2. Add the wine and cook until it has nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, salt, pepper, beans, lentils, diced tomatoes, bay leaves and rosemary. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are just tender, 15-30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you used.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture and a little liquid to a blender. Remove the center knob so steam can escape. Hold a paper towel or kitchen towel over the opening to prevent splatters. Purée until smooth and set aside.
  4. Add the dried pasta to the pot and stir to incorporate. Turn the heat up to a gentle boil and cook until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, anywhere from 8-12 minutes depending on the type of pasta you used. The soup will thicken a bit by the time the pasta is cooked. Fish out and discard the bay leaves.
  5. Stir the reserved puréed bean mixture into the soup. (If you're having a hard time getting the mixture out of the blender, remove as much as you can with a rubber spatula, then add some of the hot soup broth to it and swirl around to loosen it up; it should come right out.) Cook briefly, until the soup is heated through.
  6. Remove the soup from heat and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. If the soup seems too thick, gradually add 1-2 cups of water or more chicken broth and thin to desired consistency (note: the longer it sits on the stove, the thicker it will get). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle each portion with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired.
  7. Note: This soup is best served immediately; as it sits, the pasta and beans soak up the broth. If the soup gets too thick, you can thin it with a bit of broth or water.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be frozen, without the pasta, for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until simmering, add the pasta, and cook until the pasta is tender. (The beans may have soaked up some of the broth while frozen, so add more broth to thin out the soup, if desired.)

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Serving size: About 2 cups
  • Calories: 691
  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 81g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 17g
  • Protein: 36g
  • Sodium: 1214mg
  • Cholesterol: 26mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Your website has become my go-to for ideas when I want to try something new. The recipes are consistently foolproof and delicious. This soup was a hit for dinner and the leftovers disappeared at lunch the next day. Thanks for another great recipe…we’ll be adding it to our winter soup rotation!

    • — Stacey on January 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • I loved it! It’s delicious. The only reason I can’t give it 5 stars is that it took me 2.5 hours to make and not the 45 minutes. Granted, I always take my time but that was a bit ridiculously off. I used romano and white kidney beans and green lentils and used dried pork jowl instead of pancetta. I would definitely do this again but will give myself ample time the next time.

    • — Holly Uloth on January 17, 2021
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  • This is one of our favorite soups. I made the effort to find the pancetta and really liked it. Last time I only had bacon which works but I do like the pancetta flavor better. It is a quick and easy soup.

    • — Annette on January 14, 2021
    • Reply
  • I found this to be a really good recipe. The pasta did not over take the soupy broth. I added more pancetta the second time around.

    • — Amy Paldi on January 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn so i found pancetta but its not diced it was thinly shaved,can i use this and just tear it into pieces, since it wont cut?
    Thanks so much

    • — Melissa on January 6, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Melissa, that should be fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn so i love this recipe and make it all the time, my store was out of diced pancetta, what could i use in place of it? Thanks so much

    • — Melissa Pickard on January 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! You can use bacon in place of the pancetta. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • We made this for lunch today! Everyone loved it so much! We didn’t puree the beans because we like it broth like. It was delicious. Easy to make! Thank you Jenn! I agree this is the best pasta e Fagioli I have ever eaten. Excited for your new cookbook to come out!

    Also your website updates are really cool!!!! Makes everything even easier

    • — Cheryl S on January 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Definitely 5 ⭐️I made it for the first time ( Jan 2, 2021) as is. But for my liking it needed a bit more pancetta and maybe 1/2 c more tomatoes. Lots of flavour in every spoonful!

    • — Maria S on January 2, 2021
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  • One of the best soups I’ve made. Served on Christmas; had one guest say he’d pay me to teach him to make soup this good, had another ask me how I got the flavour profile, and officially got my partner, who calls soup “soggy food” to clean his bowl. Just make this already.

    • — Corrine on December 31, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this and I really didn’t like it. I’m sure it was the pancetta because as soon as I started cooking it, it smelled kind of bad. It tasted like it smelled and I couldn’t eat it. Could the pancetta have been bad? It was ok for the date on the package. I did google “what pancetta smells and tastes like” , and some people also thought it was bad. Could I make this with something else? I had to throw it away. My husband thought it was ok, but I just couldn’t eat it.

    • — Kathy Bedard on December 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, sorry you had a problem with us! I haven’t gotten feedback like that before and happen to think that pancetta smells good when it cooks, but perhaps everyone’s sense of smell is different. Again, sorry it was a miss for you!

      • — Jenn on December 29, 2020
      • Reply
      • I have tried many of your recipes and loved them all. I just think it is me not liking pancetta. Can I use bacon next time?

        • — Kathy Bedard on December 30, 2020
        • Reply
        • Sure!

          • — Jenn on December 30, 2020
          • Reply
  • Just fabulous!

    • — Jonnette Helm on December 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • Excellent recipe — very hearty soup — substantial enough for dinner with just a salad or bread.

    • — JP on December 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this identically except I had some Hot Links in my fridge and sliced up two of them and browned them in a pan and added them to the soup. It gave the soup some added smoky flavor and texture. I happily ate it 4 days straight for lunch. Yum!

    • — John Coleman on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was fantastic! I didn’t have Rosemary because I don’t like it 🙂 it still came out wonderfully flavorful
    Also used bacon that I had on hand… I know… Gasp! blanching it for 10 minutes and adding a little extra oil while rendering the fat worked well.
    cooked the pasta separately and will add as needed as it’s eaten throughout the week.
    Thanks for yet another great recipe!

    • — Jenny on December 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • I haven’t made this soup yet but will give a review when I have

    • — Vivienne Flower on December 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is one of my favorite soup recipes! 10 stars!! We make it quite often in our house and my 2 and 5 year old love it! My husband ate three bowls of this spectacular soup at dinner tonight as it was sooooo delicious!

    We’ve made it many times and many different ways depending on the ingredients we had on hand and all have been yummy! We’ve made it as written, subbing bacon when we couldn’t find pancetta, adding diced peppers in the beginning instead of carrots when we didn’t have carrots, and using fresh tomatoes when I didn’t have a can of diced. All variations are wonderful! (Best as written though using the dintalini pasta!)

    I’ve found two shortcuts to speed up the process….using a frozen mirepoix mixture and already diced panchetta from the deli section! Life savers on busy nights!!

    Thanks Jen for this household favorite soup recipe!!!

    • — Liz Sidell on December 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • The best soup ever!! Family LOVED it! I did substitute the pancetta for 3 Italian chicken sausages (qtrd) and added some swiss chard. Thanks for all of your great recipes. I’m trying your meatloaf recipe tonight!

    • — FP on November 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • Fabulous, delicious and gone in one evening.
    Question, I would like to triple this recipe, would I triple all ingredients and spices? It calls for rosemary 1 Tlbs, would I use 3 and bay leaf 6 ? That part always confuses me plus garlic, 6 cloves? Appreciate any advice as Fall is here and your soups are in demand .
    NOW a review on Pasta e Fagioli.
    I saw a review that said it wasn’t flavorful…certainly wasn’t the recipe I made. I made it exactly as written and found it very flavorful and so did everyone else, so totally confused with that response. but each to own. I learned you need to follow the instructions and pay attention to allow those ingredients to blend and sautéing is very important, don’t be in a hurry, be patient.
    I’ve been there done that with recipes and I no longer wish to experiment and I know if I make a recipe from Jenn Segal online or her cookbook it is a winner.
    To grab a recipe from her and put everything together and know it will be good speaks volumes to her dedication to give us great recipes. I for one, have made so many of her recipes I can confidently say, this lady is a good chef with a big heart to share with us. It has to be a passion for her because putting together a great recipe isn’t easy as I have tried many others and rarely you find a chef with the consistency that she has for turning out great meals.
    Thank you Jenn Segal for putting in the time and effort, it has not gone unnoticed.

    • — Eve Malley on October 29, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Eve, thank you for your incredibly sweet words — so glad you like the recipes! 💗
      And, yes, if you want to triple this, you would triple all the ingredients (including the rosemary, bay leaves, and garlic).

      • — Jenn on October 30, 2020
      • Reply
  • This was so tasty. Your recipes are the best of the best, giving anyone hope that they too, can make delicious meals. Purchased your book which is a beautiful addition to my bookshelf.

    • — Marietta on October 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes, Marietta (and thanks for your support with the cookbook)! 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 13, 2020
      • Reply
  • Beautiful hearty soup – Pancetta makes everything taste better! My Italian Husband says 5 star*****

    • — Catriona McDermott on October 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Fabulous!! Made it vegetarian with veggie broth and no pancetta . Chose not to blend beans as it was thick enough. Made a garlic baguette with fresh parsley- just perfect! Added extra EVO.. so flavorful and hearty, quick and healthy, thanks for all the great recipes! Your white chicken chili (also Adapted vegetarian) and big Italian salad are staples in my meal rotation. A lot of your recipes are easily converted to vegetarian without ever losing flavor… thanks!!

    • — Sharon Morris on October 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • This turned out SOO good!! For the most part I followed the recipe but I did add a bit of tomato paste and some chicken Italian sausage when the veggies were sautéing as suggested by another reviewer. I also added in with the bay leaves some springs of thyme and a Parmesan rind. Finally, I chose to cook the noodles separately and store them separate so they don’t suck up all the broth since I’ll be eating it over the next few days. I’ll absolutely be making this many more times, it’s a winner!

    • — Alison on September 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is a delicious, easy and classic comfort soup. I recommend slightly less salt as the pancetta adds quite a bit of salt.

    • — Niki on September 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • What a disappointment. I followed the recipe perfectly, just subbing with Italian sausage.
    The soup flavors did not meld and there was no flavor at all, tasting as if in water; not the chicken broth. In fact each of the ingredients was noticeable on its own but never as the soup and still crunchy!
    I later read another soup recipe which was hailed as ‘delicious’ too, but it has tomato sauce, basil and oregano added. I think that would have made a big difference. We have plenty of leftover so I’ll add basil, more garlic and ketchup since we don’t have any tomato sauce. And hope the carrots and celery get softer.

    • — Lisa M on August 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Feels like you definitely did something wrong… this is the best soup and so foolproof

      • — Lynette on September 15, 2020
      • Reply

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