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This Italian pasta e fagioli recipe, also known as pasta fazool or pasta with beans, is one of the best comforting 1-pot family meals. It’s budget-friendly, nourishing, and totally delicious.
I’m so happy to share this simple yet iconic recipe with you all. Pasta with beans, or pasta e fagioli, is a must in every Italian family and it has been one of my staples for as long as I can remember.
I simply can’t stop loving its flavor and creamy texture, the fact that it’s so filling and requires minimal ingredients and effort.
What I love most is that this humble traditional recipe turns basic ingredients such as pasta and canned beans into a perfect cozy family meal: flavorsome, full of nutrients, and affordable.
It all starts with sauteing the diced onion, carrots, and celery in olive oil. This is quite an important step in Italian cuisine, and it’s basically the base for most soups, stews, and sauces.
Then add beans, broth, and gently cook the pasta in this creamy aromatic bean soup. Serve with good extra virgin olive oil, black pepper, and parmesan cheese if you don’t keep it vegan.
I promise, once you make it, I’m sure you’ll love it too!
What ingredients you need
- Borlotti beans (also known as cranberry beans) or cannellini beans
- Vegetable broth
- Soffritto (diced onion, carrots, celery)
- Tomato paste (or canned or fresh tomatoes)
- Bay leaf
- Salt & Pepper
How to make it
- Saute’ the soffritto mix in olive oil
- Add garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, and stir until fragrant
- Stir in beans, tomato paste, salt, and pepper
- Add broth and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft
- Scoop out half of the soup and blend until smooth (or you can use a hand blender, it makes your life easier!)
- Return the soup to the pot and stir
- Add the pasta and cook over low-medium heat
- Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, black pepper, and fresh Italian parsley if you wish. And flavorsome parmesan cheese, if you don’t keep it vegan. Enjoy!
RECIPE NOTES & TIPS
I’m sure you’ll love this pasta e fagioli soup. It’s a tasty and healthy vegan dish that doesn’t require fancy ingredients, but only inexpensive pantry staples. So simple, so good.
WHY IS THIS PASTA E FAGIOLI SO GOOD?
The secret is in the method and in a few classic ingredients.
- Soffritto: the dish starts with this flavor base, basically a mix of diced carrots, celery, and onion saute’ in olive oil until translucent. Then add garlic, and cook just until fragrant. Take your time and don’t skip this step, it brings flavor and sweetness to the dish.
- Aromatic herbs and tomato paste: the addition of garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, and tomato paste makes the broth richer and adds depth of flavor. Tomato paste is another essential ingredient in most Italian dishes, but you can swap a few cherry tomatoes or 1/3 cup of canned tomatoes for tomato paste, they both work just fine.
- Beans: traditionally, this Italian pasta e fagioli calls for fresh or dried borlotti beans (also known as cranberry beans) or cannellini beans. For convenience, you can certainly use canned beans as I’ll often do most of the time. You can also use pinto beans, but borlotti (cranberry beans) will give you a creamier texture and a deeper flavor.
- Liquid: you can use vegetable or chicken broth, or even water. I usually use low sodium vegetable broth, it brings flavor without adding too much sodium. Start with the amount of liquid stated in the recipe, then add it gradually as much as needed.
- Texture: there’re many variations of this thick hearty soup. Some leave the soup chunky, but I prefer to blend part of the beans and the broth, and then I cook the pasta in a thicker bean soup. This step is optional, but it gives you a luscious texture.
- Pasta: any sort of small resilient pasta shapes like orecchiette, ditali or shells are fine. Another popular option is breaking long pasta shapes like pappardelle or spaghetti into smaller pieces, that’s what I did here 😊.
- Extra flavor: Serve with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, black pepper. Another great addition is chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese, it only gets better!
WHAT DOES PASTA FAZOOL MEANS?
This traditional pasta e fagioli soup is often called pasta fazool, especially in the USA. The word “fazool” is derived from its Neapolitan name, fasule (beans). The main characteristic of this dish cooked in Naples is the mixed kinds of pasta leftovers together.
HOW TO STORE PASTA E FAGIOLI LEFTOVERS?
If you have any leftovers, you can store this pasta with beans in the fridge in a tight lid container for 2 days.
The pasta will absorb all the liquid as it sits and to reheat, add up to 1 cup of water until it’s thinned to the desired consistency, then gently warm over medium-low heat.
MORE ITALIAN PASTA RECIPES?
If you love this pasta fazool, you can’t miss these Italian pasta recipes:
- Pasta with lentils
- Pasta with chickpeas (vegan)
- Pasta with peas
- Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil (vegan)
- Potato pasta (pasta e patate)
If you make this delicious pasta e fagioli recipe or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram. I would love to hear from you!
Italian pasta e fagioli (pasta with beans)
- 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil or extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
- 1 medium-sized onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1-2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Rosemary sprig
- 2 cans (15oz each) borlotti beans (cranberry beans) or cannellini beans, drained
- 1 Tbsp Tomato paste, or 1/3 cup canned tomatoes
- 4 cups (960 ml) low sodium vegetable broth or water
- 7 oz (190-200 grams) Pasta, short pasta (ditali, orecchiette, shells…)
- 1/2 level tsp fine salt*
- 1/8 tsp black pepper, plus more to serve
- In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the diced onion, carrot, celery, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are turning translucent. It takes about 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic, the bay leaf, and the rosemary, and cook for about 30-40 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the beans, the tomato paste, salt, and pepper, give a good stir. Then add only 3 cups of the broth (reserve the rest) and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf and rosemary. Scoop out half of the soup, blitz in a blender until smooth, and return it to the pot (be careful, it's still hot). Alternatively, use an immersion blender and blitz some of the soup directly in the pot.
- Bring to the simmer and add pasta. Cook gently, stirring frequently, and add the rest of the reserved broth gradually when needed. The soup should be creamy, thick, but not dry. Feel free to add a splash of water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
- Cook until al dente, taste and adjust the seasoning. (See notes).
- Ladle the pasta with beans into bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and top with black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese, if you wish. Fresh chopped Italian parsley is another delicious addition if you like. Enjoy!