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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

  • Hi, Jen! This looks wonderful, and I’m looking forward to making it. Unfortunately, I can’t consume wine due to medication. I know it mostly boils off, but some alcohol may still remain. Do you think the recipe will work if I don’t include the wine step? My guess is yes, but I wondered what you thought.

    • — B on January 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yep it will definitely work without the wine. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • I loved this and I will make it often!!! I’m not big on cheese (except goat) but my husband is a cheese monster! I didn’t tell him that the recipe called for it and I was so pleased to watch him devour this soup! Thank you so much!

    • — Rox on January 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have been using this pasta fazool recipe for a few years now. It is really good! I make only one small change in that add a small fennel bulb, diced small like the rest of the veggies ( I love the flavour of anise) and some fresh basil leaves.
    It’s so good to have in the fridge in there cold winter months here in Ontario. Thank you Jenn.

    • — Regina on January 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • On the favorite meals list at our house!

    • — JB on January 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this again last night for maybe the 20th time. Even if I’m missing one or two things – it was lentils last night – the overall flavor is always delicious. In our regular rotation. Thank you!

    • — Skye on December 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, what wine do you recommend to serve with this soup? Getting ready to make it again. Absolutely delicious!

    • — Rebecca on December 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Rebecca, I think this would be nice with a pinot noir. See this post for more info. Hope you enjoy the soup!

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2022
      • Reply
    • I used Tempranillo. Simply amazing recipe!!!

      • — Rox on January 15, 2023
      • Reply
  • You need an App

    • — Amy Goldberg on December 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Amy, Unfortunately, I don’t have an app, but my website is mobile-friendly which makes it very easy to use regardless of what device you’re viewing it on.

      • — Jenn on December 8, 2022
      • Reply
  • One of my favorites. Questions…I want to serve this two nights in a row to two different sets of people. Should I double the recipe or prep everything and make it again the following day? Trader Joes sells a mirepoix. Can I go terribly wrong using this? If I do, would have to guess the equivalent amounts, but could little extra veggies hurt it. My inclination is to make it two times. Your thoughts… Thanks

    • — Carol Winkelman on November 29, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, I think you can get away with making one large batch. Just divide the soup in half prior to adding the pasta. Refrigerate half the batch and as you are reheating it, you can cook the pasta. Keep in mind that the soup will have thickened as the beans will soak up liquid; you may need to thin it with some broth while reheating. Regarding the mirepoix, I don’t think you can go wrong with it but, yes, you will have to guesstimate the equivalent amounts. Hope that helps, and that everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on November 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • We got 2 feet of snow over the last two days .. needed something weather appropriate.
    Omitted lentils due to wife’s food allergy and used an immersion blender other than that I followed the recipe.
    We both thought it turned out well. Paired with crusty bread I made in the Dutch oven before I made the soup. Easy recipe with good flavor, will make again.

    • — Tom on November 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Just made this today—a very cold winter day. It is delicious! Had to substitute beans because of what was in the pantry and I didn’t have lentils. Still, flavor was rich, it is a warming soup, and there are left-overs for lunch tomorrow.

    • — Susie on November 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious, Will it change taste if I omitted the bay leaf?

    • — Camile on November 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Camile, It’s fine to leave it out. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delish. Even my very fussy husband loved it. I typically try a recipe to see how I can improve it, but this needs no improvement whatsoever! Make exactly as written!

    • — Marti Garcia on November 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this exactly as written and it was perfection. So yummy!!!

    • — Erin on November 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I’m an avid follower of yours and love your recipes. I would like to try Minestrone soup and didn’t want to look anywhere else. I have your books and they don’t have it either. Do you think this soup can be converted to Minestrone with a few tweaks? Such as omitting pancetta and lentils, and substitute red kidney beans and Italian seasoning for the white beans and rosemary, respectively. And maybe add more vegetables? I’d really appreciate your advise. Thank you for all that you do and turning our dinner time into an occasion!

    • — Oleda on November 2, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Oleda, so glad you like the recipes! Yes, I think the tweaks you’re suggesting would work to convert it to a minestrone. This soup is pretty adaptable. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on November 8, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn,
        I went ahead and made the tweaks but kept lentils and added a little bit of tomato paste. It’s absolutely our favorite Minestrone now! Kids who don’t like soups devoured it. Great framework for variations and easily adaptable, like you said. Couldn’t thank you enough! 💕

        • — Oleda on November 29, 2022
        • Reply
        • So glad it came out nicely — thanks for taking the time to report back! 🙂

          • — Jenn on November 30, 2022
          • Reply
  • Wonderful warming soup. I made it almost exactly as written. I don’t have a blender so I used my mini food processor to puree the bean mixture. I used the homemade chicken stock which has a lot of flavor. BTW I got 7 good sized servings.

    • — K on November 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • I followed the recipe exactly except used an immersion blender for the cup of veggies and broth. This soup was amazing! Good for a cold night in Florida. Well, 59 degrees is cold for us!

    • — Tammy on October 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this… delicious. Does the pancetta go into the soup or is it just for the grease to sauté the veges?

    • — Jennifer on October 22, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yes, the pancetta goes into the soup, so you should keep it in the pot when you add the onions, carrots, and celery.

      • — Jenn on October 24, 2022
      • Reply
  • Once again you’ve knocked this one out. My wife requests your French Lentil soup quite often. After seeing her reaction to this dish I am sure this will be in the rotation because it’s the bomb!! Made exactly as printed with no substitutions. I see no reason to modify it.

    • — Robert H. Gibbs on October 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • Jenn, this is an addendum to my previous review. I completely forgot to include this. One reviewer was concerned about using canned cannellini beans and having them fall apart in the cooking process. I used Goya organic cannellini beans which remained whole and were perfect. Also, instead of using blender to purée the cup of beans for thickening the broth, I tried out my new immersion blender. I just scooped the cup of beans with broth into a bowl and the immersion blender worked perfectly. Again, recipe was fabulous.

    • — Jennie on October 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Had this soup for lunch on Sunday …for family and guests…on our patio. I served your kale salad and my (southern) country ham biscuits with the soup. For dessert, I served your pumpkin pie with my vanilla bean whipped cream.
    I am still getting texts from family and guests about this meal. They loved it. Thank you so much for so many divine recipes that I am so proud to serve!

    • — Jennie on October 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this soup yesterday and won’t make it again. The flavor was very much lacking. I added more herbs and a small amount of marinara sauce which helped but overall I wouldn’t make this recipe again.

    • — Kate on October 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • I don’t know what you made but it wasn’t this recipe. This soup is packed with flavor.

      • — Robert H. Gibbs on October 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • I followed this recipe exactly as written and it was outstanding! I’m a trained chef so I usually tweak almost every recipe I try, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The only change I made, because I wasn’t sure when I’d be serving it, was to cook the pasta separately and added it later. I have yet to be disappointed by any of this website’s recipes. Thank you.

    • — Tracy on October 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • AMAZING!! As expected, another wonderful recipe from Jenn Segal. This was an absolute gem of a soup to make, with very rich and complex flavors. Loved the thickening trick as well! I am Italian and have had many versions of Pasta Fagioli, but this one is my favorite. Thank you for never disappointing on your recipes!!

    • — Gina on October 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, very excited to make this recipe! I plan to make this vegetarian but I foresee my husband wanting the meat component. I understand that cooking the pancetta in the beginning makes the flavors meld, but do you think it would work if the cooked pancetta was added at the end and then refrigerated overnight? Do you think the flavors would absorb enough? Any recommendations would be appreciated!

    • — Asha on October 4, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Asha, I think that would be fine, especially because it will sit overnight. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 4, 2022
      • Reply
      • Great! Also, if I want to cook the pasta separately, should I decrease the amount of broth?

        • — Asha on October 11, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Asha, I would just keep it the same.

          • — Jenn on October 12, 2022
          • Reply
  • This is superb! Made a fantastic dinner with bread and cheese. I have tried so many of your recipes Jen (from this site and your books) and none have disappointed me. Now this is the first site I come to when I need a recipe. Your recipes all contain ingredients that are easily obtained and accessible. Thank you for all of your hard work and amazing recipes.

    • — Caterina on October 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • A perfect soup for this cold and rainy Sunday night! This was absolutely delicious and we both had seconds! Plenty leftover for lunch tomorrow. Will definitely add this to our regular rotation for the coming months. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Tamera on October 3, 2022
    • Reply

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