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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

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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  • We had another wintery day today and I prepared this recipe for dinner. It definitely warmed the body and was delicious. I recommend using the French lentils, if available, they add a wonderful flavor. I also added a 1/4 cup of red lentils which also add a good flavor. This was the first time I added white wine to the recipe and it gave the soup a depth of flavor.

  • First recipe I ever made from your site. Which is why I keep coming back to try other recipes and I bought your cookbook. The whole family loves it. Only thing I change up, is I take out the pancetta after crisping. I add it back in at the end after removing some soup for my daughter who won’t eat it.

  • Another 5-star recipe from Jenn Segal. Honestly, we have loved every recipe of hers from both this site and from her cookbook. I can hardly wait for her second book to hit the shelves.

    We made this for dinner along with her Caesar salad (another fav). My husband enjoys a poached egg atop his bean soup – so we with with that and a generous sprinkling of parmesan. Simple and delicious – the perfect combination for a busy weeknight.

  • Just made this soup on a frigid New England winter day – perfect. I used my immersion blender with its straight-sided container to puree the bean mixture, and it was easier (I assume) to clean than if I had used my blender. I used one can of cannelloni and one can of chickpeas and green lentils.

  • Delicious! I used 4 slices of thick-cut bacon instead of pancetta, 5 cups of chicken broth and 8 oz tomato sauce. A keeper for sure!

  • Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? Well, you found it. This version of pasta fagioli is absolutely fantastic. The flavor does not disappoint and the fresh rosemary is such a wonderful add. Filling but not “heavy”. This will be a regular visitor in my menu rotation.

  • I love making this version of pasta e fagioli because it has more than one legume. I like using my Le Creuset dutch oven to perfectly cook the vegetables.

    • — Kathleen Sue Hare
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe. Simple to make and always satisfying. I always add pasta separately so they are not overcooked.

  • This was the first Once Upon a Chef recipe I ever prepared, about 4 years ago. It’s become a staple in our house, especially during the pandemic. It’s perfect for pantry cooking…I usually have all of the ingredients available. It’s the perfect week night meal for our family…easy to prepare and comes together quickly. I’ve made it several times without the pancetta and it’s works just fine…though it is more tasty with it.

    • — Sarah Rosenblum
    • Reply
  • I have made this recipe several times and it is one of my favorites. I love the combination of flavors. leftovers are amazing.

    • — tammy congelli
    • Reply
  • Absolutely the best! I was looking for a new soup recipe and found this one on Once Upon a Chef. In the past I have found Jenn’s recipes to be consistently delicious so her website has become my go-to when looking for something new. The only change I made to the recipe was adding 1/2 cup (instead of 1/4 cup) lentils and a bit more broth to up the protein content. Also added some parmesan rind while the soup cooked to give it even more flavor. Yum!

  • This is such a warm, comforting soup for a cold fall/winter dinner! I do prefer to substitute bacon for the pancetta, but other than that, it’s delicious as written. We use cannellini beans and ditalini for the pasta. We serve it with rustic boule.

    • I forgot to give it 5 stars!!!

  • This soup is the first Once Upon a Chef recipe I have tried and I love it! It is so flavorful and comforting – I can’t wait to try more recipes now.
    For the Pasta Fagioli, here is how I followed the recipe:
    – I am vegetarian so I omitted the pancetta and used homemade vegetable stock
    – I used cannellini beans and am excited to try a mix of cannellini and chickpeas next time I make it
    – I had French green lentils on hand so I used those (yum! what an impact such a small amount of lentils had on this soup)
    – I used canned tomatoes and tubetti pasta
    – Off recipe, I added a squeeze of lemon juice at the end

  • This soup is amazing! It has been a staple in our home for many years. Great way to get some beans and lentils into the diet as well.

  • This recipe is full of flavor! I had all the ingredients except for fresh rosemary so I substituted dry, which is a bit firm in texture. I can only imagine how much better this will be next time when I have the fresh rosemary on hand. I love the detailed instructions given in the recipe, from the amount of time to cook at each step, the heads up on the cooking time for different lentils (I kept testing mine and they took a full 30 min to become tender) and the photos to confirm you are doing it right. This one had the added bonus of what to pair it with, I made the Rosemary Focaccia-outstanding!!

  • My go to soup!! I make this over and over again. Even my kids eat it. Ditalini and elbows both work well. I love the creamy thickness created by puréeing some of the ingredients. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!!!

  • My husband and I were a bit hesitant to try this recipe at first because we are not huge bean/lentil fans, but this has completely changed that for us!!! I am the pickiest eater, and I could eat this multiple days out of the week. It is delicious and super healthy. Highly recommend!

  • This was amazing! So simple, yet it tasted like it was much more complicated! It was a huge hit at my house and with my picky teens! I used Italian chicken sausage instead of pancetta. The puréed beans at the end really give it that thick, rich taste! Will definitely be adding this to my soup rotations! Thank you!

  • Love this recipe! Great comfort food on a cold winter day.

  • Another GREAT soup recipe from Jen. I make the soup exactly as Jen wrote the recipe, although if I have some on hand, will add in some kale towards the end of the simmer. I especially like to use one can of white beans and one can of chick peas….adds some variety.

    • — Lori Armstrong
    • Reply
  • This soup is so comforting! As with all Jen’s recipes east to follow with wholesome ingredients, like a big hug this soup will embrace you with contentment!

  • This soup was super yummy and filling. I had some leftover prosciutto, so I used that instead of the pancetta, and reduced the pasta to 1/2 cup because I knew that I was going to be eating leftovers of the soup. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out great. Another great recipe from your website!

  • This is my favourite winter comfort food recipe. Warm, hearty and filling. I recently made a batch for a friend who had surgery. Said it was the best post operation meal. Highly recommend this recipe.

  • Never made this before- this recipe made me look like a pro!! You know it’s good when they request it again a week later. I couldn’t find green lentils so I didn’t add them. Also, vegetarian member so didn’t add the pancetta (did the first time without saying anything oops!!). Any variation, it still tastes great!!

  • This soup is the very first Once Upon A Chef recipe I tried. I’d been in a cooking rut and in need of a new reliable online resource. Soups and stews are our weeknight dinner go-to, so this seemed like a good bet. And it was! Truly blew me out of the water. Over the years, I’ve adapted it to suit our needs… I add about double the pasta and lentils, and more broth as needed. I always find it needs more cooking time than the recipe suggests, but that’s probably due to the black lentils I’m using. Sometimes I add a parmesan rind as well, for that extra umami boost.

  • this soup is delicious. i love the added lentils.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • Sure, Melissa, that should be fine. Enjoy!

  • 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
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! You can use bacon in place of the pancetta. 🙂

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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!

      • 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?

  • Just fabulous!

  • Excellent recipe — very hearty soup — substantial enough for dinner with just a salad or bread.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • I haven’t made this soup yet but will give a review when I have

    • — Vivienne Flower
    • 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!!!

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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).

  • 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.

    • So glad you like the recipes, Marietta (and thanks for your support with the cookbook)! 🙂

  • Beautiful hearty soup – Pancetta makes everything taste better! My Italian Husband says 5 star*****

    • — Catriona McDermott
    • 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!!

  • 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!

  • This is a delicious, easy and classic comfort soup. I recommend slightly less salt as the pancetta adds quite a bit of salt.

  • 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.

    • Feels like you definitely did something wrong… this is the best soup and so foolproof

    • Oh please no ketchup.

      • — Shaun on January 30, 2023
      • Reply

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