Pasta Fagioli

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Teeming with vegetables, beans, and pasta, hearty pasta fagioli soup is the perfect cozy meal for a chilly night.

Bowl of pasta fagioli.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Pasta Fagioli, literally meaning “pasta and beans” (and pronounced “pasta fa-jo-lee” or “pasta fa-zhool,” depending on the region) is a quintessential Italian comfort food, perfect for those chilly nights that call for something cozy and hearty. This particular version, adapted from Joe Cicala, executive chef at Cicala in Philadelphia, and featured in The Washington Post, is truly the best I’ve tried.

The soup begins with a flavorful mix of pancetta and vegetables, simmered in wine and broth, and finishes with pasta and beans. But what really makes the soup special is the way the broth is enriched: a portion of the soup is puréed and stirred back in, lending a satisfying texture and a depth of flavor that makes the soup a meal in itself. Serve it with focaccia and a big Italian salad, and you’ve got a meal that will warm you up and make you happy.

“AMAZING!! 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.”


What You’ll Need to Make Pasta Fagioli

Pasta fagioli ingredients.
  • Olive Oil: Used for sautéing vegetables, adding a subtle, fruity undertone to the soup’s base.
  • Pancetta: Italian cured pork belly, similar to American bacon but not smoked, adds a rich, savory flavor. Available pre-diced near the deli section or at the deli counter for convenience.
  • Onion, Carrots, Celery, Garlic: This classic vegetable mix creates a flavorful foundation for the soup, offering sweetness, aroma, and depth.
  • White Wine: Adds a hint of acidity and complexity to the soup. Choose an inexpensive bottle that’s still good enough to drink.
  • Chicken Broth: The liquid base of the soup, contributing both richness and depth.
  • Cannellini Beans or Chickpeas (or a Combination): These legumes bring heartiness, texture, and protein to the dish.
  • Dried Lentils: Add nutritional value, earthy flavor, and heartiness to the soup. French green lentils (lentilles du Puy) are preferred for their ability to hold their shape, but any brown or green lentils will work.
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes: Provide acidity and brightness, balancing the soup’s rich flavors.
  • Bay Leaves and Fresh Rosemary: These herbs infuse the soup with aromatic and herbal notes.
  • Pasta: Small pasta like elbow macaroni, ditalini, or orzo makes the soup more substantial.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano: This cheese lends a nutty, salty flavor to the soup.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

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 in a Dutch oven.

Add the onions, carrots, and celery.

adding the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot.

Cook 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. 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.

a bit of soup in blender.
blended soup in blender.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can pasta fagioli be frozen?

Yes, but it’s best to do so before adding the pasta, as pasta can become mushy when frozen and then thawed. Freeze the soup in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the soup in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat 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 necessary.)

Can this soup be made vegetarian?

Yes, you can make this soup vegetarian by substituting the chicken broth with vegetable broth and omitting the pancetta. To maintain the savory depth of flavor in the vegetarian version, consider adding a Parmigiano Reggiano rind while the soup simmers. The rind imparts a rich, umami flavor that enhances the broth beautifully.

Can pasta fagioli be made ahead of time?

This soup will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. However, keep in mind that the pasta and beans will continue to absorb the broth over time, so they may become softer and the soup thicker. If you don’t plan on serving the soup immediately, I recommend cooking the pasta separately and adding it to individual servings.

Bowl of pasta fagioli.
Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Video Tutorial

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Pasta Fagioli

Teeming with vegetables, beans, and pasta, hearty pasta fagioli soup is the perfect cozy meal for a chilly night.

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


  • 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


  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. Note that as the finished soup sits on the stove, the pasta and beans will continue to soak up the broth. If it gets too thick, you can thin it with a bit of broth or water.
  7. Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions: This soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, keep in mind that the pasta and beans will continue to absorb the broth over time, so they may become softer and the soup thicker. If you don't plan on serving the soup immediately, I recommend cooking the pasta separately and adding it to individual servings. The soup can also be frozen, without the pasta, for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the soup in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat 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 refrigerated or frozen, so add more broth to thin out the soup, if desired.)

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • 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, 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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  • I just made it, without the pancetta (I’m a pescetarian), and it is delicious!!

  • Absolutely brilliant winter soup recipe. I think it might beat my renowned chicken soup recipe. I did end up blitzing a small portion of it for my husband’s sake as he thought it was too “lumpy”. It was ace either way.

    • — Stephanie Blythman
    • Reply
  • Awesome and very tasty recipe! Thank you so much. I have a picky, vegetarian 5yo (I left out the pancetta but kept the chicken stock), and she GOBBLED it up! I can’t think of a more glowing recommendation. Very easy for a weeknight meal, too. This will be a be a new regular on my dinner rotation.

  • This is the first time I have used a recipe and the outcome was PERFECT!! OMG! I was so thrilled. Thank you, thank you, thank you……excellent….10 stars!!

  • WOW!!!!! I used to order pasta e fagioli at a restaurant that has since shut down. I’ve tried other recipes but they were never right. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for! I made it with vegan cheese and lentil pasta and it was still amazing! Whether you’re new to this soup or a veteran – make this recipe!!! I promise you it will not disappoint!

  • This Pasta Fagioli recipe is so simple to make and the best tasting one ever. Made this tonight and the family loved it! This will be a repeat meal in our house.

  • Excellent, tastes like that from an Italian restaurant. So delicious.

  • Can you freeze this soup?

    • Yes (without the pasta). See the bottom of the recipe for freezer-friendly instructions. 🙂

  • This is my 2nd review of the Pasta Fagioli recipe. I know the last one I left was at least 3 years ago, as I delivered this to a sick pregnant sister the first time I made it, and the associated baby is turning 3 this May. Since the Rona quarantine, I have been housebound, making large batches of my favorite recipes. Because I have nothing but time, I made this recipe, and after sharing with a few members of my ‘Rona Happy Hour group, I was again reminded this soup was FIRE. (A close family member who was a recipient of a healthy portion of this soup at or may not have cursed me out in the most benevolent way about how good this soup was.). In any case, because it was so good, I gave a good chunk of it away and I find myself making a replacement batch tonight. And you know what? Every bit as Fire as the last ones. This recipe is the epitome of a KEEPER, folks. If you know whats good for you, please make it.

    • Yes! This is the best and this may be my second review as well, can’t remember. But I love it so much and make it all the time. I do usually add more pasta so it’s less soupy and more of a sauce and often use bacon bc I have it on hand. Delicious!

  • It’s Perfect Jenn!

    It’s my go to version! Thanks for sharing it!

    CIA ’81

  • Exceptional soup! Easy to execute with minimal effort…just soulful stirring. My son would like me to start making this soup weekly.

    I used the last of my pancetta a week ago so I used 4 oz. of bacon. I cut away a lot of the fat before cooking. The bacon added a strong smokey flavor, which works for my family. American Test Kitchen recommends blanching the bacon for 2 minutes to mute the smoke flavor when substituting for pancetta. Nice to know, but I decided not to take this extra step. The results were still amazing.

  • It has become a big favorite! I skip the bean puree step because it does naturally thicken if you don’t eat it right away. Excellent!

  • I grew up eating pasta fagioli at home and it was one my favorite meals. I’ve been looking for a pasta fagioli recipe online and came across this one today. I followed the recipe exactly minus the white wine which I forgot to buy, but I must say the recipe was perfect. I finished it off with crumbled bacon which is how we ate it growing up. Can’t wait to make this again!

  • AMAZING! I’ve been making your online recipes and own your cookbook. I’m never disappointed and my family loves it all.

    • Amazing

    • So glad! 🙂

  • Made this soup exactly to the recipe. And, again, this was truly outstanding. It’s the best version of this soup ever, a recipe I return to again and again. Thank you!!

  • Fabulous recipe!! I omitted the pancetta and used fire roasted tomatoes. Super delicious and satisfying! Thanks for your great blog and recipes!

  • Fabulous recipe. Soup was delicious, infact it was 10 times better than Antonio Carluccio’s soup.

  • LOVE this version of pasta e fagioli. I made some subs based on what I had: bacon instead of pancetta, only 1 can of beans, red wine instead of white, and spaghetti broken into 3″ pieces or so. I served it over parmesan toast. It was absolutely delicious and will definitely go into the rotation, especially because I nearly always have everything in my pantry. To make it vegetarian &/or kosher, I would use smoked tempeh instead of bacon.

  • Made this tonight. Easy to make and so, so tasty!!! Thanks for another great recipe, Jen!!! I’m hooked on your blog and cookbook!!

  • Absolutely delicious!

    I did. substitute the pancetta with cooking the contents of two chicken and mushroom herbed sausages. And as has been suggested by others, cooked the pasta separately and added to soup bowls when planing to consume the heated / reheated soup.

    Both the flavouring and texture of this soup are simply divine! Thank you for a wonderful recipe:)

  • I plan on making your recipe soon but I have a question. (I looked through a bunch of the already posted questions and I didn’t see this question asked.) I would like to try to use the dried beans instead of the canned because….well….the canned beans look overly saturated and falling apart. Do I just soak the hard beans or do I cook them too before using them in the soup?

    • Hi Joe, You’ll need to soak the beans before adding them to the soup. Hope you enjoy!

  • Absolutely delicious! I dropped some off to my mother yesterday… on my way home she called to say it’s the best thing I have ever made her 🙂
    Jenn, I love your website and cannot wait to try more recipes!

  • Also, can you do a recipe for ribollita? Thanks!

    • I’ll add it to my list. 🙂

  • This is the best pasta fagioli recipe I have ever made! Somehow Jen, your ability to combine herbs, wine and other ingredients together puts this recipe above others. I wanted my soup to have more veggies so subbed the 2nd can of beans with kale/ cabbage. I also add 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to make it spicier for my family. Next time I have to double the recipe.

  • Can i make this in a crock pot?

    • Hi Jo, You could make this in a slow cooker but you’d still need to go through all of the initial steps on the stovetop, and it cooks pretty quickly so not sure a slow cooker would make sense for this recipe. Hope that helps!

  • 10 out of 10 from the whole family!

  • Hi Jenn,
    I am wondering about adding chicken sausage to this recipe? What are your thoughts or suggestions?

    • I think that sounds like a delicious addition! Please LMK how it turns out with sausage. 🙂

      • Hi Jenn,
        I followed every step of your recipe. The only substitution I made was omitting the pancetta and using cubed chicken sausage (Trader Joe’s). I browned the sausage just like I would have browned the pancetta. The soup was fantastic! It is definitely a keeper. Thanks for your phenomenal site and recipes. I love your style!

  • This was wonderful! I just made this today, and we had it for dinner. I stuck to the recipe almost exactly except for adding in some tomato paste towards the end of sautéing the veggies (only because I saw this tip for adding umami to dishes elsewhere) and adding a Parmigiano-Reggiano rind in as it cooked (as suggested by some reviewers here).

    We are already looking forward to the leftovers, and will definitely make this again!

    Thank you, Jenn!

  • This was absolutely delicious! I made it for my parent’s anniversary dinner and everyone loved it! I’ll be making this for Christmas dinner!

  • Wonderful, wonderful recipe! I’ve made it several times now. My husband just loves it.

  • Superb! Will definitely make this part of my winter soup rotation.

  • Holy smokes. I just made this. Delicious! Jen you rock. I don’t need a recipe file any more because I just go to your website. Thank you!

  • Wow! This soup was so delicious and easy. I skipped the step of blending a portion and didn’t feel like it was missing a thing. Thank you for another outstanding recipe!

  • So so so good, almost obscene! Jenn, you are a genius!

    • Glad you enjoyed it! ❤️

  • My family loves this soup. I make a vegan version of this and I don’t use oil. Try sauteing in broth and leave out the pancetta. So delicious and so healthy.

  • Wonderful recipes ! I have tried several so far and love them!
    I am trying the “pasta e fagioli” but dislike rosemary …what do you suggest?
    Eliminating it completely or substituting for it?
    Would love your input.

    • So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! You could use thyme in place of the rosemary. 🙂

  • I love this soup. I think making your chicken stock makes it the best. Thank you for such a yummy recipe 😊

  • Cooked this last night and it was the best pasta dish in years…I do remember this from a small Italian place I used to go to for lunch ages ago and always tried to cook this. never quite worked. Until now. Left the soup a bit thicker and it was super yummy!!! Thanks for adding another great recipe to the family cookbook.

  • Jen, I love this recipe and next time I would like to try using dried cannellini beans instead of the canned ones. Do you know what measurement of dried beans I would soak and use as a substitution for 2 cans? Thank you for the recipe, it is fabulous and perfect every time!

    • Glad you like this, Sandy! If you want to use dried beans, you’ll need about 1.5 cups, pre-soaking. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • It certainly does, thank you so much!

  • This turned out perfect! I’ll admit that I used regular bacon instead but I still got a wonderful flavor!

  • Can you omit the pancetta?

    • Sure Kandice — just add a bit more olive oil. The soup will still be delicious. 🙂

  • I tried this delicious soup last night and it was fun to make and a huge hit! I can tell from the tips and details in the recipe instructions that this came from a very experienced chef, and I am now going to try many more of Jenn’s recipes. I used green lentils (I may add more, like 1/3 cup next time) and homemade chicken broth, a Parmesan rind (I freeze them) and I found that Boar’s Head sells 4 oz. packages of diced pancetta so I didn’t have to deal with that or use thin slices. Many thanks for an excellent recipe that will be in regular rotation here!

  • This soup is by far my favorite – as I’ve said before you are a very talented Chef. I did make only one substitution – instead of pancetta, which I am not a huge fan of, I used a thick cut of hickory smoked bacon. This recipe is absolutely wonderful with a simple salad and a nice Italian bread. Preferably a Tuscan Boule. Thank you once again for making soup decision easy!

  • Yum yum! I made this soup this week, after having it at my daughters a while back….we are BOTH big fans! It made a lot, and I took it to a friend who just had surgery….she loved it too! One easy way to keep the soup from absorbing all the liquid from the pasta is to keep the pasta ( cooked) in a separate container, and add it to each bowl. I do this with the rice noodles for the thai chicken soup, and they keep quite well for several days….if your great soup lasts that long!

  • Although we love our family recipe for Pasta e Fagioli I wanted to try yours because I liked the idea of adding the lentils & pancetta. I only had small red lentils on hand so I did substitute them for the green. I was very pleased with the outcome! The taste was delicious😋
    Our family version is more of a pasta & bean dish on the thick side, so I’m happy to say I don’t feel like a “traitor” 😂
    I served it with Parmigiano Reggiano, crusty Italian bread and my go to Italian style salad with olives, red onion, oregano, red wine vinegar & Evoo. I’ll be making it again for sure.

  • Pasta e fagioli is one of my Italian favourites. I have tried quite a few recipes over the years and this one is, buy far, the best for me.
    I have made it at least 10 times now and it is a firm favourite with my family. Thanks Jenn

    • — Kim-Marie Sosnowski
    • Reply
  • This was excellent and easy. I did put the whole can of tomatoes in and the rind of the parmesan for additional flavor. The leftovers were terrific and lasted for 4 days – even with the pasta in it – and microwaved just fine. I did freeze about two servings for later when my kitchen is all torn up. Thanks for another great recipe!, Jean!

    • — Marilyn Burrows
    • Reply
  • Jenn, Made the soup this morning and couldn’t wait to try it. Absolutely delicious. Since the Fagioli is this evening’s dinner menu, is it better to make the pasta separately and add when warming up the soup. I have already added the pasta to the soup but wonder about the next time I make it.

    I was going to make your focaccia to go along with the soup, but have only 2 cups of white flour left. Can I use wheat flour to supplement this recipe or wait until I replenish the white?

    Thanks Jenn. I’m trying to go through many more of your recipes as they are special. Good work. Love your book too. Gen C

    • Hi Gen, yes, if you’re making this soup ahead, I would suggest cooking and adding the pasta before serving it so that it doesn’t get mushy and soak up a lot of the broth.

      And regarding the focaccia, I do think you could get away with using the white flour you have left and supplementing it with wheat flour. The texture maybe a little bit different, but it will still be good. Hope you enjoy the meal!

  • I made this soup tonight and my family and I LOVED it. So, so, so good!! Thank you for sharing your passion.😊

  • This was lovely. I purchased the cheese but forgot to add. Am sure it would be wonderful, but if you are counting calories you could omit. I am going to make it again this week we liked it so much. I am a “very” slow cook so my only comment would be that it took me probably 30 minutes versus 15 minutes prep time.

    Will become a regular in my rotation.

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