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Pasta e Fagioli

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

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Pasta e fagioli, literally “pasta and beans,” is a warming Italian soup, perfect for a chilly night. This version – adapted from a recipe by Joe Cicala, executive chef at Cicala in Philadelphia, and featured in The Washington Post – is the best I’ve tried. The broth is thickened slightly with puréed beans and vegetables, which makes it rich and satisfying. Serve pasta e fagioli with 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

pasta e fagioli ingredients

Before we get started, a few words about the ingredients:

  • Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly, often referred to as Italian bacon. Instead of being smoked like American bacon, it is cured with salt and spices and then dried. You can usually find pancetta conveniently diced and prepackaged in containers near the deli section; it’s a great time-saver. Otherwise, it is sold at the deli counter.
  • For the wine, use a bottle that’s inexpensive but still good enough to drink (no supermarket cooking wine!). Since the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup, feel free the buy mini bottles sold in packs of four – they are great to keep on hand for cooking.
  • For the lentils, I prefer French green lentils (or lentilles du Puy) because they hold their shape when cooked – a bonus when making lentil salads and some soups. If you can’t find them, any brown or green lentils will work.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by heating the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot, then add the pancetta.

pancetta and olive oil in pot

Cook until the fat begins to render, about 5 minutes.

pancetta rendering

Add the onions, carrots, and celery.

adding the onions, carrots, and celery to the potCook until the onions become translucent, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

adding the garlic to the cooked vegetables

Pour in the wine and cook until almost evaporated.

pouring the wine into the pot

Next, add the broth, salt, pepper, beans lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves and rosemary, and bring to a boil.

bringing the soup to a boil

Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you used. Use a ladle to transfer about one cup of the beans and a little broth to a blender.

beans and vegetables in 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.

puréed beans and vegetables

Meanwhile, add the dried pasta to the simmering broth.

adding the pasta to the simmering broth

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

adding the bean and vegetable purée to the soup pot

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

stirring in the Parmigiano Reggiano

Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

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Pasta e Fagioli

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

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

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 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
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans or chickpeas (or a combination), drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup dried lentils, rinsed (preferably French green lentils, but any green or brown lentils are fine)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ¾ cup pasta, such as elbow macaroni or ditalini
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the 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 onions, carrots 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 burn.
  2. Add the wine and cook until it has nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, salt, pepper, beans, lentils, 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, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you used.
  3. Use a ladle to transfer about 1 cup of the beans and veggies 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 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, 8 to 12 minutes depending on the type of pasta you used (follow timing on the package). 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 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 the blender 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 to 2 cups of water or chicken broth and thin to the desired consistency (the longer the soup sits on the stove, the thicker it will get). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls 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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Comments

  • This was the perfect soup for a chilly, rainy day. Just delicious!

    • — Jeanne on October 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn,
    My family does not like rosemary. Can I substitute thyme instead? If yes, how much fresh thyme should I use? How much dried thyme? Thanks! Can’t wait to make this!

    • — Chris on October 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Chris, Definitely, I think thyme would be equally good. I’d use one teaspoon dried. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 1, 2022
      • Reply
  • This looks wonderful and I plan to make it in a couple of days. Jenn, what could I substitute for the wine to still achieve a great flavour? Absolutely no alcohol in anything for one family member. Thanks for your suggestions! 😊

    • — Lucy on September 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Lucy, It’s perfectly fine to just leave it out; the soup will still be full of flavor.

      • — Jenn on October 1, 2022
      • Reply
  • Delicious! The soup all came together quickly. My husband love it and kept saying “this is really good”. We will be making it again. Thank you another great recipe Jenn.

    • — Scotchgirl on September 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe on a whim and BOY OH BOY am I glad I did! I substituted bacon for pancetta and added kale at the end of the pasta time because my garden is bursting with it. I rarely make the same thing more than once, but this one will become my “go to” this fall and winter. I can hardly wait to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. DELICIOUS.

    • — Cheryl on September 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • No lentils

    • — Michael Lagana on September 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    My family loves this soup and I make it often. I do need to watch my sodium so I use low sodium chicken stock instead. There is plenty of salt between the pancetta, beans and canned tomatoes. We always add grated pecorino to ours also.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe 💕Chris

    • — Chris on September 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – I have made this soup several times and it is delicious…I am all out of pancetta and am wondering if cubed ham will work as a substitute…if not I will leave out and prepare a vegetarian version ..

    • — Geri on September 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Geri, Glad you like it! It won’t taste quite as smokey, but cubed ham will work. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I love your site and have enjoyed so many of your recipes! Thank you so much! Quick question related to freezing the pasta e fagioli. It was not clear to me from the freezer instructions whether I should go ahead and add the bean purée back to the soup before freezing? In the standard recipe, it is added after the pasta cooks in the soup, but in the freezer instructions you are supposed to cook the pasta in the soup after thawing. Curious when the optimal time is to add the purée when freezing. Should I freeze the purée separately? Thank you. So kind of you to respond to your followers’ questions.

    • — Jen W. on September 22, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jen, Sorry for any confusion – it’s fine for you to add the puréed beans into the soup prior to freezing. (And so glad to her you like the recipes!)

      • — Jenn on September 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    I would like to make this soup for dinner this evening and was wondering if I could use gluten free pasta or will that change the thickness of the soup? Thanks.

    • — Jenna B. From SF on September 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenna, I think I’m weighing too late to help, but for the record, I think gluten-free pasta would be fine. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 22, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi,
    Do you remove the pancetta after rendering the fat? I love your recipes and your cookbook. Next, is the rye bread withe currants!
    Barb

    • — Barb Carrier on July 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes and thanks for your support of the cookbook! You actually leave the pancetta in the pot and then add the onions, carrots, and celery. Hope you enjoy the soup!

      • — Jenn on July 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • This is probably the saltiest soup I’ve ever made. Next time i would probably omit the salt entirely and add it to taste at the end.

    • — David on June 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hello Jennifer
    I absolutely love this recipe!
    But I am wondering how I could make this vegetarian. Would you have any suggestions?
    Thank you so much!

    • — Sandy on June 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, You can use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth and just omit the pancetta. It will still be delish!

      • — Jenn on June 22, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thank YOU!

        • — Sandy M on June 22, 2022
        • Reply
      • That was kind of a no brainer!!!

        • — Sandy M on June 22, 2022
        • Reply
  • Delish

    • — Enza Lo Giudice on May 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Fantastic! Definitely a keeper.

    • — Janis on May 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • I absolutely love love love this soup!! So easy to make, yet incredibly favorful. Of course in our family, we go heavy on the crushed red pepper when serving! Delish!

    • — Deborah on May 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • I absolutely love this soup and needed to figure a way to freeze small portions that I could easily reheat. I cooked small elbow macaroni separately, very very al dente. Then after both the soup and pasta had cooled, I put the elbows in the bottom of the container with the soup on top before freezing. It worked well. The pasta held its shape without soaking up too much liquid. Yum! Making another batch during today’s blizzard.

    • — Kathy on January 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this recently and the family really enjoyed it. So delicious and comforting!

    • — Stephanie H on January 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • First of all, I LOVE ALL of Your recipes! This is one of my Top Favorites: it’s absolutely Delicious Every time I make it & Everyone Loves it!!! I have shared it with numerous friends & family members. Thank You for sharing 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Recipes 💕💕 This soup has become a weekly staple, especially in winter!! You can make so many additions/ but it’s absolutely perfect the way it is: 🥰 THANK YOU👩‍🍳

    • — Gina Caslin on January 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made tonight. Super filling and yummy. Have plenty of leftovers to eat for the week when fam is gone. Yay – no cooking for me!

    • — Yvette on December 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Question: we have one kid allergic to lentils, would flavor be similar if I cooked them separately, and added to the others when serving?? Thanks! This looks like dinner tonight on a snowy, cold day!🥰

    • — Katie on December 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Katie, the flavor will be slightly different, but it will still be delicious. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Is there anything I can substitute for the white wine? I am cooking this for a pregnant woman and am not sure if all the alcohol would cook off.

    • — Stephanie on December 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Stephanie, I think it’s fine to use the wine here as the alcohol should cook off (and it’s a small amount). That said, if you’re not comfortable with it, I think you can get away with omitting it. I hope the soup comes out nicely!

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • I know that adding the pasta to the soup works to thicken it, but if I were to boil pasta separately and add, would that make any leftovers more long lasting? Or maybe this just isn’t the soup for that.

    • — Barbara on December 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, If you keep the cooked pasta and the soup separate and add pasta to each serving at the end of reheating the soup, that should be fine!

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made as directed except used ham. Salt adjusted to a quarter teaspoon was perfect.
    We absolutely loved! Another 5 Star recipe!

    • — Ria on December 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Love your recipes! Question on this soup. What can I substitute for the pancetta? Would turkey bacon work & if so how should I prepare it? Thank you.

    • — Laylah on December 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! Turkey bacon would work here; I would follow the directions in the recipe but keep in mind that it probably won’t take the full five minutes to cook as the pancetta does and won’t render as much fat. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2021
      • Reply
  • This may be a sleeper recipe but it is absolutely over the top. Rich, deep flavor that begs for a nice crusty bread, greens dressed with oil and vinegar and, of course, a hearty red wine.

    • — Carl on December 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • hi Jen,

    i tried the recipe and it was delish, the puree of the veggies is key. thanks so much.

    david

    • — david carl lucchesi on December 6, 2021
    • Reply
  • Best pasta e fagioli I’ve ever had. A family favourite.
    The rosemary is key! So tasty

    • — Nicole P. on December 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another great recipe! My husband loved it and asked me to do tons of it 😅.

    • — Maria on November 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made the Pasta e Fagioli and it was delicious! Like so many others, I’m so happy I found you. I just found a bunch of great ideas for Thanksgiving sides which will be great anytime!

    • — Joan on November 14, 2021
    • Reply
  • HI JENN I LOVE THIS SOUP! ONE OF MY FAVORITES! I WANT TO MAKE IT TODAY BUT REALIZE I ONLY HAVE CRUSHED TOMATOTES WILL THAT MESS THE SOUP UP?
    THANKS SO MUCH
    MELISSA

    • — MELISSA on November 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! The soup will have a slightly different texture, but you can get away with crushed tomatoes if that’s all you have on hand.

      • — Jenn on November 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • This soup is amazing, and was just the nourishing staple I needed during a busy week. It’s hearty but has a great depth of flavor. I had the briefest of lunch breaks the last couple of days and was so thankful to have this delicious, warming soup on hand.

    A couple tweaks I made to save a few dollars: I used dried rosemary, and if you do this you won’t want to use a whole tablespoon. I also used Better Than Bouillon and cut down on the amount of added salt. I might try using ditalini next time since Jenn is correct and the noodles do absorb a lot of liquid, but otherwise I wouldn’t change a thing! Standout recipe.

    • — Gracie on November 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Adapted the recipe to what I had on hand – used Better Than Bouillon vegetable broth concentrate, added only one can of cannellini beans and a 10 oz can of diced tomatoes. Used 3/4 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix and added a small diced zucchini and pasta shells the last 30 minutes. It was plenty hearty. Served with a focaccia recipe I found on Bon Appetit called Shockingly Easy No Knead Focaccia since I find bread making of any kind intimidating and it lived up to it’s name.
    Great soup recipe and bread recipe for leftovers that tasted great the next day.

    • — Marilyn on October 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • Jenn: Another home run!! I just made this fabulous soup for the second time, and it’s a cold and blustery day here in the pacific northwest and is a perfect meal with hot crusty bread.
    Thanks Jenn.

    • — Pamela C Harriman on October 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Would canned lentils work in place of dried?

    • — Barb on October 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Barb, yes, canned lentils should work. I’d drain and rinse them before adding them to the soup and add them a few minutes before puréeing the soup so they can get heated through. I hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 11, 2021
      • Reply
  • Could I add chicken or beef to the soup ? If so, what type of either would you recommend?
    Thanks

    • — Diane on September 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Diane, I think shredded rotisserie chicken would work nicely here.

      • — Jenn on September 14, 2021
      • Reply
    • Made this tonight and it was fantastic. We added minced garlic and skipped the pancetta as we are vegetarian.
      However if this is intended to be your main course, then you probably need to double the recipe for a family of 4.
      I’ll be using more of the recipes here as this was perfect.

      • — A on September 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Great flavor, great balance. Love the choice of adding lentils and rosemary. Really enjoying this soup. This will be my go-to pasta Fagioli recipe.

    • — jeffrey on August 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great as expected since each of your recipes (and I have made a LOT) have not disappointed. Made as directed except for pancetta. I didn’t have any so I subbed bacon that I let sit in boiling water for 2 minutes then drained. That’s how the internet says to make the substitution.

    • — Jennifer Hughes on July 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • This soup is the best I have ever eaten! I have made it three times so far and everyone who eats it, loves it! My daughter (who lives 1400 miles away) requested it as soon as she came home. We cooked it and ate it all! Now she wants me to make it again. That is great for me because I love it too! Thank you for the great recipe and memories to go along with it.

    • — Cheryl S on April 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Really enjoyed this soup

    • — Tania on April 14, 2021
    • Reply
  • I used to order pasta fagioli 20 years ago from a local restaurant, and I’ve been trying to replicate ever since they changed their recipe. Finally, this version tastes like the soup I loved so much! The only update I made is not scooping out some to blend and add back to the pot because I think the consistency is perfect without it. Thanks for ending my search!

    • — Cathy on February 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious – didn’t change a thing! In the past I’ve always made it with ground beef but this recipe certainly didn’t need it. Thanks again for another amazing recipe!

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier on February 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made this quite a few times now and it is absolutely delightful. The best pasta e fagioli that I have ever tasted and that includes from restaurants too. Five stars are not enough for this one – need to have ten….
    Thanks Jen

    • — Kim-Marie on February 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 8, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made this soup for dinner on a snowy day. Great comfort food packed with nutritious ingredients. Also wonderful that most ingredients are items you have on hand. I did find that it took longer than the stated cook time. Closer to 50 minutes. Plan accordingly!

    • — Kathy Laudick on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • This soup is so delicious! I have made it so many times that I almost don’t need to refer to the directions anymore. This recipe introduced me to pancetta, and now I keep a couple of packages of it in the freezer, so I almost always have the ingredients for this soup on hand. I really love how the flavor is layered with the pancetta, sautéed veggies and wine. Thickening the soup by pureeing a cup of the bean mixture is genius! I prefer using one can each of cannelloni beans & chickpeas. The perfect lunch or dinner! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Elaine on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Subscribe to Jenn’s newsletter, that’s how I found this gem. Another great soup with two types of pulses. I must admit I didn’t have green lentils, but the local grocery store did, surprise. Again the steps are easy to follow and the result wonderful. I even used chickpea pasta to keep on our diet. The note at the bottom is important, not only do the pasta and beans soak up broth, they also absorb the spices. Don’t forget to puree some of the bean mixture, thickens the broth and increases the flavor.
    Wonder what the next newsletter will have.

    • — Tom in CP on February 2, 2021
    • Reply

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