Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)

Pasta e Fagioli, a classic Italian dish that literally means "pasta and beans," is a hearty soup soup that's packed with tender pasta, creamy beans, and a flavorful savory broth base. It's a rustic peasant dish simmered with a medley of veggies and aromatic herbs, creating a comforting, rustic meal that's perfect for a chilly day!

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A large bowl of pasta fagioli topped with cheese.

Although it's more of a hearty Italian soup than a pasta dish, pasta fagioli originated in the rural areas of Italy, where people relied on basic ingredients like beans and pasta to create filling, yet affordable meals for their families.

Like Italian wedding soupribollita and minestrone, pasta e fagioli can be prepared in many different ways and may vary depending on which region of Italy you visit. 

Some may have a thin, tomato-based broth, while others are on the thicker side. Each family has their own unique twist on this traditional Italian soup recipe, and this pasta fazool recipe is my family's version.

Pasta e fagioli soup is an all time favorite of my dad's, who ordered a bowl of "pasta fazool" every time we went to an Italian restaurant. 

Why this recipe works

  • A one-pot meal with easy clean-up and minimal dishes to wash.
  • An easy recipe using inexpensive ingredients and pantry staples.
  • Made with salty pancetta and a parmesan cheese rind for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Thickened slightly with pureed beans to add body and creaminess.
  • Utilizes canned beans to save time and effort. 
  • It freezes well for meal prep or busy days.
  • Pasta and beans make the ultimate comfort food!
Portioned out ingredients for pasta fagioli in a labeled graphic.

Ingredient notes

  • Pasta: The type of dried pasta used can vary, but short pasta shapes like ditalini or acini di pepe are traditional. The best pasta to use is ditalini pasta becuase it resembles the beans in size. However, you can also use any small pasta shape like small shells or orzo. 
  • Beans: Pasta fagioli is typically made with borlotti beans (cranberry beans) or creamy white beans like cannellini beans, but you'll find it made with all different legumes. Use whatever beans you have on hand. Navy beans, great northern beans, butter beans, red kidney beans and pinto beans all make a great bean soup. Dried beans are traditional but I use canned beans for ease. 
  • Pancetta: This cured Italian bacon adds a delicious salty and savory flavor to the soup. If you don't have pancetta, you can substitute bacon or even omit it for a vegetarian version.
  • Veggies: For the base of my pasta fasul, I use Italian soffrito, a classic combination of finely chopped onion, carrots, and celery, plus several garlic cloves to give the soup both flavor and texture.
  • Herbs: I add a few sprigs of fresh parsley and a bay leaf to the broth as it simmers, but you can add other fresh herbs, a pinch of Italian seasoning or just leave it out.
  • Stock: Homemade chicken or vegetable stock is the best option for this soup because it adds a richer flavor. Store-bought broth or stock also works, just be sure to use low-sodium chicken broth to control the overall saltiness. 
  • Tomato Paste: Adding a small amount of tomato paste adds depth and tanginess to the soup. You can add more or less or substitute tomato sauce depending on your personal preference.
  • Parmesan Rind: Don't throw away your leftover parmesan rinds! They add a rich and nutty flavor to soups and stews - just make sure to remove it before serving. I like to save my rinds from used-up wedges of Parmigiano Reggiano and keep them in the freezer in a zipped-up bag. If you don't have any on hand, just leave it out. 

*Full ingredient list with quantities is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Helpful equipment 

  • Food ProcessorI love to use my food processor to finely chop the veggies for this dish. It saves a lot of time, and the texture of the vegetables always comes out perfect! But you can also do this part by hand.
  • Dutch Oven or large soup pot - For this pasta fagioli recipe, you'll need a large pot. I love  using a Dutch because it retains heat so well. oven is the best way to go, but any pot large enough to hold everything will work. 
  • Immersion BlenderSome people like to puree their soup completely, others like it a little chunky. I personally prefer using an immersion blender to blend just half of the soup mixture, giving it that perfect texture without losing all of the chunks.

Step-by-step instructions

Pasta fazool ingredients in a food processor.
Cooking pancetta in oil.

1) First, finely chop the yellow onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in a food processor or dice them with a knife if preferred.

2) Next, heat olive oil with pancetta in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cook until pancetta is crispy and rendered, about 5 minutes.

Vegetables added to dutch oven in pasta fagioli recipe.
Making pasta fazool in a large pot.

3) Add the vegetable mixture to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates and vegetables are tender. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more.

4) Pour in chicken stock and add parsley sprigs, bay leaves, parmesan cheese rind, and beans. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes to an hour.

Blending soup in a pot with an immersion blender.
Adding pasta to recipe ingredients.

5) Remove parmesan cheese rind, bay leaves, and parsley sprigs. Use an immersion blender to puree about half of the soup.

6) Finally, add pasta to the soup and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Ladle it into bowls, then give it a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of grated cheese. Serve it up with some crusty bread. Enjoy!

Bowl of Italian soup with a spoon inside.

Tips for success

  • Try replacing the pancetta with smoked bacon or a few anchovy fillets instead.
  • Add some Italian sausage, lean ground beef, ground turkey for extra protein or a handful of leafy greens such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard to add more texture and nutrients.
  • Like it spicy? Add some red pepper flakes for heat!
  • The pasta fagioli soup will keep getting thicker as it sits. Thin it out with a few cups of water or a bit of broth as needed. Taste for seasoning and adjust after. 
  • For a less thick, brothier soup, cook the pasta separately and then add it to each individual bowl when serving. This way, it won't soak up all the liquid in the soup, and the pasta won't overcook.
  • To thicken, puree some of the beans with an immersion blender or blend a few cups in a regular blender and then add them back to the pot. Just be very careful blending hot liquids.

Serving suggestions 

Serve traditional Italian pasta fagioli recipe with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a crusty loaf of bread or garlic bread for dipping (or serve it along side this crispy Italian breaded chicken cutlet recipe!).

It's perfect for a cozy dinner at home or as a starter along with other delicious Italian appetizers like some marinated olives or mushroom crostini.

Serve with a warm spinach salad with pancetta and goat cheese or a kale Caesar salad to round out the meal. 

You can also serve this classic Italian soup as a first course before a traditional Italian dinner like bracioleItalian meatballs or Chicken Milanese.

And don't forget to finish with an Italian dessert like pignoli cookies or ricotta pie!

Classic pasta e fagioli is also great served as leftovers the next day as it thickens and the flavors continue to meld together.

Close up of a spoon scooping up a spoonful of pasta e fagioli.


What is the difference between pasta e fagioli and minestrone soup?

The main difference between pasta e fagioli and minestrone soup is that minestrone typically contains a variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Pasta e fagioli, on the other hand, is more focused on pasta and beans as the main ingredients.

Why is it called pasta fazool?

Pasta fazool is a slang term for pasta e fagioli, originating from the Italian dialect spoken in Naples. It comes from the Neapolitan phrase pasta e fasule, which translates to pasta and beans.

It was popularized in America by Italian immigrants. Whether you call it pasta e fagioli or pasta fazool, this hearty and delicious soup remains a classic Italian comfort food.

Can I make this soup with vegetarian-friendly ingredients?

Absolutely! this classic Italian soup truly vegetarian, simply omit the pancetta and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can also add in some extra herbs or spices for added flavor.

What's the best way to reheat leftover pasta fagioli?

To reheat leftover pasta fagioli, simply heat it up in a pot on the stove. If you are in a hurry, you can heat it up in the microwave, but I prefer to reheat it on the stove to maintain the soup's consistency.

If the soup has thickened overnight, you may need to add a bit of water or broth to thin it out.

How do I freeze pasta fagioli?

To freeze pasta fagioli, let it cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or freezer bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat on the stove. If needed, add more broth or water to thin it out.

You can also freeze individual portions in freezer-safe containers for easy single servings. This is great for meal prep or quick weeknight dinners.

Pasta e fagioli soup in a bowl.

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Bowl of Italian soup with a spoon inside.
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Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)

Pasta e Fagioli, a classic Italian dish that literally means "pasta and beans," is a hearty soup soup that's packed with tender pasta, creamy beans, and a flavorful savory broth base. It's a rustic peasant dish simmered with a medley of veggies and aromatic herbs, creating a comforting, rustic meal that's perfect for a chilly day!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 400kcal


  • 1 medium yellow onion peeled and quartered
  • 2 medium carrots scrubbed clean and quartered
  • 2 stalks celery scrubbed clean and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for serving
  • 4 oz Pancetta finely diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 cups chicken stock or water
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind optional
  • 3 14-oz cans cannellini beans
  • 8 oz Ditaliini pasta or other short shaped pasta
  • Grated parmesan cheese for serving
  • Crusty bread for serving optional


  1. Place the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped, but not pureed. Alternatively you can finely dice everything with a knife.
  2. Add olive oil and pancetta to a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta has rendered out and starting to get crisp, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable mixture, season with salt and pepper, then lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates and the vegetables are very soft. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock, then add the parsley sprigs, bay leaves, parmesan cheese rind and beans. Cover and simmer on the lowest heat possible for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Remove the parmesan cheese rind, bay leaves and parsley sprigs, then use an immersion blender to pulse the soup in a few areas to puree some of the beans, but not all of them, to thicken. Alternatively you can mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon or remove 3-4 cups, puree them in a blender, then return back to the pot.
  6. Add the pasta to the soup and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes longer if desired. 
  7. Ladle into bowls, then top with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve with crusty bread.


  • The pasta e fagioli will continue to thicken as it sits. Add more water or stock to thin it out as desired. Enjoy it however thick or soupy you prefer.
  • For a soupier, less thick soup, cook the pasta separately and add it to each individual bowl when serving. This way it wont absorb all of the liquid in the soup.
  • If omitting the pancetta, try replacing with a few anchovies fillets or extra parmesan cheese rinds to give it depth of flavor.


Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 654mg | Potassium: 647mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3599IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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