Pasta e Fagioli or Pasta Fazool

Sunday, October 15, 2017
One of the first recipes I ever learned to make is Pasta Fagioli.

It’s on heavy rotation at my house (especially during those colder months) because we all love it so much!

It has incredible flavor and it’s jam-packed with a garlic tomato sauce, making it more like a bean and pasta stew than a soup.

Every Region in Italy makes it a little different.

I have two versions today for you Red Tomato Sauce version and a White Cannellini version.

Italian classic recipes like this one were considered depression food by my grandma and family.

Mom made wonderful pasta dishes quickly like pasta ceci, baked cavatelli, pasta with Italian sausage, quick lasagna, and a favorite Italian goulash.

Back in the 1960s when money was tight, we ate this very often.

It would feed many people including, family, friends, and the neighborhood kids on the block.

We always had a huge pot of this on the stove. I still make this pasta fagioli often and think of my mom and grandmother, precious memories were made.

this is Italian pasta fagioli with ditalini and white beans in a tomato red sauce in a white dish

this is pasta and beans a classic Italian dish called pasta fazool

What is Pasta Fagioli?

Recipes for pasta e fagioli vary, the only true requirement being that beans and pasta are included.

While dish varies from region to region it is most commonly made using cannellini beans,

Great Northern beans or borlotti beans and a small variety of pasta such as elbow macaroni or ditalini.

The base typically includes olive oil, garlic, minced onion, celery, carrots, and often stewed tomatoes or tomato paste.

Some variations omit tomatoes and instead use a broth base.

Preparation may be vegetarian or contain meat (often bacon or pancetta) or a meat-based stock.

Once a peasant dish in Italy

Pasta e fagioli, or pasta and beans, is a classic dish found in most Italian households.

Like many of the dishes that are now popular around the world, this was once a peasant dish in Italy.

A very simple dish that is both high in fiber and filling!

The two ingredients however that always remain the same are cooked beans and some sort of short pasta.

Ingredients You Will Need

  • cannellini beans
  • whole tomatoes
  •  tomato pasta
  • bay leaves
  • garlic
  • salt, pepper
  • celery hearts
  • red wine
  • grated cheese 
  • Optional red pepper flakes, (for soup version chicken broth see recipe card for exact measurements and ingredients
  • for White, Pasta Fagioli see the recipe all the way at the end of this post below

this is pasta fazool and Italian pasta and white beans in a thick rich wine tomato sauce

Other Tips

  • All the vegetables I use go into the processor first to pulse fine.
  • Then I add the tomatoes to be chunky. I like the garlic, carrots and celery hearts finely minced.
  • I like my vegetable in taste when it comes to those ingredients, but the tomatoes stay chunky.
  • If you like that idea, then do the other vegetables in the food processor before adding the tomatoes.
  • I love also using fresh tomatoes to make fresh marinara sauce, another classic favorite for pasta
  • Substitute chickpeas, lentils, or any other beans you like.

Depression Food

Growing up my grandma and mom always told me this was depression food meaning, it feeds a large family inexpensively.

I consider it a gourmet meal and love it.

The recipe is over 100 years old.

Grandma also made a white pasta fagioli no tomatoes and that is at the end of this post.

Optional Additions(for meat lovers in the sauce).

  1. cooked loose Italian hot sausage
  2. crushed meatballs
  3. crispy fried bacon with grease
  4. boneless pork ribs or pork hockey
  5. chunks of pepperoni

Note: Grandma has made this so many ways, thick, with greens, thin as soup, you can use this basic recipe and make it the consistency you like.
Pasta e Fagioli - Pasta Fazool ( Picture made at Easter 2009)

Grandma made Pasta Fazool with Chicken Soup broth and fresh tomatoes no paste and only whole tomatoes. You can make either version they are delicious.

this is a pasta fazool fagioli made in 2009 as a soup in chicken broth

More Easy Meals:

Pizza Chicken and Potatoes

Italian Chicken Stew

Homemade Sausage Pasta Helper

Italian Escarole and Beans

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Pasta e Fagioli  or  Pasta Fazool

Pasta e Fagioli or Pasta Fazool

Yield: 8
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 15 M
This is a classic Italian Pasta and Bean dish called pasta fagioli


  • 2 cans 16 oz cannellini beans or white great northern navy beans or freshly cooked dried beans
  • 1 can 28 oz can whole tomatoes cut up or use 1 pound plum tomato put through the food processor
  • 12 ounces of chicken broth use 28 ounces and omit the tomato paste if making a soup version
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup celery hearts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white or red dry wine
  • 1 or 2 fresh basil leaf, 2 cloves chopped or 2 teaspoons fresh garlic minced or more to taste and 1 teaspoon parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic powder or more to taste (optional pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a little heat.)
  • 1/2 lb. ditalini boiled separately and drained or baby shells, and even orzo will work.
  • grating cheese
  • Canola or Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar or see below ( grandma used sugar)
  • Optional Notes:
  • 4 or more baby carrots ( adds sweetness)naturally I always use them instead of sugar
  • 1/4 to half cup chopped escarole or spinach adds color and flavor


  1. Chop the celery finely. Saute fresh garlic with tomato paste in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the medium pot till golden and fragrant. Remove garlic when starting to brown (do not burn).
  2. Drain beans and add to the pot. Add herbs, wine and spices add chopped escarole. Add celery, finely chopped carrots if using, broth and tomatoes.
  3. Cover and let simmer on medium heat for approximately ½ hour. In a 2 quart pot, boil water for ditalini to package instructions and drain.
  4. Add ½ cup grated cheese to the beans to thicken it add more broth if too thick ( I also love red pepper flakes which are optional for a little heat).
  5. Stir in cooked pasta. Serve with garlic bread and red pepper flakes on top and grated Romano cheese.
  6. Optional: Grate more Romano cheese on top pasta Fagioli when serving. Nice addition to this dish, is cheesy parmesan garlic bread, or just plain crusty Italian bread. I double this recipe. You can adapt any way you like.
  7. For the White Version of Pasta Fagioli:
  8. 15 oz cans cannellini beans
  9. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  10. 1/2 small onion chopped fine
  11. 2 cloves garlic chopped
  12. 4 oz pancetta or approx 4 slices bacon diced( in a pinch use ham)
  13. 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  14. 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  15. 1 3/4 cups ditalini or another small pasta shape
  16. kosher salt, and pepper to taste
  17. crushed red pepper flakes optional
  18. 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano and more for garnish
  19. Optional: diced tomatoes around 1 cup
  20. Drain ONE can of beans and set aside.
  21. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil. 
  22. Add onion and pancetta and saute until onions are golden about 5 minutes. 
  23. Add garlic and rosemary and saute for about 2 additional minutes.
  24. Transfer sauteed ingredients to a blender or food processor and add the two other cans of beans (liquid included). 
  25. Puree until smooth.
  26. Add the pureed mixture back into the pot, along with the drained beans, the chicken, and tomatoes if using, then salt to taste. 
  27. Bring to a boil simmer until this gets to the desired thickness.
  28. Cook pasta to package instructions, salting the water, then drain. (We like ditalini pasta)
  29. Stir into the pot adding 1/2 cup of Romano cheese or more, the cheese will thicken this soup.
  30. Taste, and add more salt if necessary.
  31. Serve, topped with red pepper flakes and pecorino romano cheese if you like.



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pasta fazool, pasta fagioli, pasta and beans, cannellini beans, navy beans, stew, soup
stoup recipes, Italian soup recipes. white bean and pasta recipes bean recipes, soup recipes
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Italian Pasta Ceci

this is a pasta fazool fagioli made in 2009 as a soup in chicken broth

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2009. It was edited and re-published in 2017.