Pasta e Fagioli, also known as pasta fazool, or pasta and beans, is one of the most iconic Italian-American comfort foods. It's simple to make, budget-friendly, and full of wonderful flavor and texture from cannellini beans, pancetta, Parmigiano Reggiano, ditalini pasta, and rosemary.
Editor’s Note: Originally Published on November 6, 2018. Updated with full process shots and expanded info.
Pasta fagioli, or pasta e fagioli, or as we say in New York, pasta fazool, is a hearty soup consisting of borlotti (cranberry beans) or cannellini beans and any tiny pasta shape.
There are many versions and variations of this dish and as with many of our recipes, we encourage you to use this recipe as a base and adapt as you see fit.
For example, my grandma did not use pancetta or rosemary in her version, but we love the flavors they add so we use them in this recipe.
They are both optional, and omitting the pancetta will make this dish vegetarian.
Pasta fazool is hearty so it is a meal unto itself but we love to serve it with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread, or garlic bread!
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Dice one medium-sized onion and 4 ounces of pancetta. Slice 5 cloves of garlic.
- In a large heavy pot, saute the pancetta in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 7-10 minutes over medium heat or until the pancetta has rendered most of its fat. Note: If omitting the pancetta use 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more or until just golden. Add the ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Hand crush 3 large canned plum tomatoes and add to the onion and pancetta mixture. Note: That's 3 tomatoes from 1 can - that's all!
- Add 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and give it a stir. Add 1 sprig of rosemary (optional). Add 3 16-ounce cans of drained cannellini beans, a rind of Parmigiano Reggiano (optional), and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium and crush some of the beans by smashing them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. If you'd like a creamier consistency, use an immersion blender for about 5-10 seconds, or blend ⅓ of the beans in a regular blender. Don't blend too much though as you still want some of the whole beans for your soup.
- Once the soup is at the consistency you want, add 2 cups of uncooked ditalini pasta and cook until al dente. Keep an eye on the pot and stir frequently to avoid sticking. The pasta will absorb much of the liquid so add more water as needed. The final consistency of pasta e fagioli is entirely a personal preference. If you prefer it to be soupier, add more water. Note: If you're planning to make a large amount of soup for 1 person and plan to have leftovers, cook the pasta separately as it may become mushy the longer it sits in the soup.
- Once the pasta is al dente, turn off the heat and taste test. Adjust salt, pepper, and hot red pepper to taste. Note: you will likely need a good amount more salt, depending on your taste. Once you're happy with the taste, serve the pasta e fagioli in bowls with crusty bread. Serve with grated cheese, hot red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!
Top tips for outstanding pasta fagioli
- The beans. Traditionally borlotti beans are used but cannellini beans are easier to find and great for the "fagioli" in pasta e fagioli. For our method, we used an immersion blender to yield a thicker consistency. If you'd like a thinner consistency, skip the blending and simply use the flat part of a wooden spoon to smash the beans on the side of the pot. If you find you've gone a bit blender happy with an immersion blender and have no more whole beans left, you can open an additional can of beans and add them to the soup.
- The pasta. Any small pasta shape will do for pasta fazool. We are using ditalini (tubetti) but you can also use small shells, farfalline, elbows, or even broken spaghetti in a pinch!
- The cheese. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rinds add great flavor to add to soups and we recommend using them if you have. If not, do not worry! You can simply add grated Parmigiano Reggiano to the soup and it will still taste great. Also, if you prefer to use Pecorino instead of Parmigiano, you can do so but since Pecorino is saltier, be mindful of that when adding additional salt and as always, be sure to taste test!
- Adaptations. As mentioned above, you can definitely omit the pancetta to make this a vegetarian pasta e fagioli. As for the rosemary, if you don't like it you can omit it entirely. Rosemary is strong-tasting herb and will definitely impart a great deal of flavor to the dish so if it's not your thing, don't use it. If you'd like additional flavor, you can use low sodium chicken broth instead of water. Lastly, if you are planning to make this ahead of time, or only plan to eat a small amount while saving the rest for leftovers, consider making the pasta separately as it may become mushy.
More simple recipes you'll love
If you're a fan of pasta fazool, we think you'll enjoy these other comforting recipes, most of which can be made with pantry staples.
- Pasta e ceci - One pot comforting dish with pasta and chickpeas.
- Pasta e piselli - Tiny pasta and peas with olive oil and cheese.
- Pasta and peas in red sauce - Ditalini, peas, onion, and tomato paste.
- Pasta e patate - Pancetta, a touch of tomato, diced potatoes, and pasta.
- Pasta e lenticchie - Lentils and mismatched pasta with onions, garlic, cheese, and olive oil.
- Pasta con broccoli - Garlic, oil, broccoli, and pasta.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion diced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 16 ounce cans cannellini beans drained, but don't rinse
- 6 cups water to start but add more as needed
- 3 canned plum tomatoes hand crushed, note: just 3 plum tomatoes from 1 can - that's it!
- 1 sprig rosemary optional
- 2 cups ditalini pasta or small shells, elbows, etc
- 1 Parmigiano rind optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large heavy pot saute the pancetta in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 7-10 minutes over medium heat or until the pancetta has rendered most of its fat.
- Next, add in the onions and saute for 5 minutes then add in the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more until just golden. Finally, add the hot red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
- Next, add in 6 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and the plum tomatoes and give it all a stir. Add in the drained beans and the Parmigiano Reggiano rind (if you don’t have one, you can use a bit of grated cheese or just omit) and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium and crush some of the beans by smashing them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. For a creamier consistency use an immersion blender, or spoon ⅓ of the beans into a regular blender and pulse. Don't blend too much so that some of the whole bean texture is maintained. Make sure to do this step before adding the pasta!
- Add in the pasta and cook until al dente. Keep an eye on the pot and stir very frequently to avoid sticking. The pasta will absorb much of the liquid so add more water as needed. The final consistency of the pasta e fagioli is 100% a personal preference. If you like it soupier, add more water!
- Once the pasta is al dente turn off the heat and taste test. Adjust salt (will probably need a good amount), pepper, and hot red pepper to taste.
- When satisfied with the taste, serve in bowls with crusty bread. Offer grated cheese, hot red pepper flakes, or black pepper on the side and drizzle some high-quality extra virgin olive onto each bowl. Enjoy!
- Pasta shapes like ditalini, small shells, elbows, and farfalline are all great choices. Even broken spaghetti works!
- If you plan to have leftovers, be sure to cook the pasta separately. Otherwise, it's better to cook the pasta in the sauce to better absorb the flavors.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave.
This recipe was originally published on November 6, 2018. It was completely updated on July 20, 2022.
Hi! Love your recipes. Your site is always my go to for trying something new and they are always delicious!
Curious on this one, what adjustments should I make to do this on the stovetop since I don’t have an instapot?
Thanks in advance for the advice!
Hi Anthony! To make this without the Instant Pot it's pretty simple. I recommend you check out my Pasta e Ceci, which is basically the same thing as pasta fagioli but uses chickpeas instead of cannellini beans. That recipe is made without the Instant Pot. Thanks for the support!
Hello, Happy 2023 ! Love this recipe for addition to our Nomeat Fridays .I do use my recipe with broken spaghetti and also add celery , I serve with flounder on side or tossed salad . Thanks for sharing all these recipes my grandparents are from Basilicata , Irsinia but she never wrote down any recipes. Ciao ! Thanks
Hi Linda, I'm so happy you enjoyed it, and happy 2023 to you as well! Thanks for the comment!
Hi Jim. Recently discovered your Youtube channel, and love your recipes and videos. I especially like your passion for Italian food and the simplicity of your dishes, which is essentially what Italian cooking is. I'm an Australian-Sicilian and remember my Nonna's food as the best. (Don't we all). Tried this recipe on the stove top and it's amazing. Love it. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.
Hi Troy, Nonna always makes the best food! I normally make it in the pot as you did, but wanted to put up an easier version here. Thanks for liking the channel and the recipes.
assume this can be done in crock pot any recommendations on changes
Hi Kevin. It can definitely be made in a crockpot. I don't think anything needs to be changed.
I am a big, big fan, love all your recipes. We had pasta fazool quite often growing up too. My Mom was a fantastic cook and so many of your recipes remind me of her cooking. She sometimes made pasta fagioli with a smoked ham butt which was very tasty. I think this would be a great dish for a Lenten meal, substituting the chicken broth with vegetable broth. I don't see where that would be a problem. I've tried your Giambotta recipe too--Fantastic!!
Love your videos, keep them coming.
Hi Marie. Thanks for liking all the videos. I'm happy to hear that the recipes are bringing you back!
last night i made this recipe and it was delicious. My family made Pasta Fajioli a different way but I liked this recipe just as well. We used ground meat (beef and pork sausage), kidney beans, chopped spinach, and much more crushed tomato. Very different from yours but equally as delicious.
Hi Ron, thanks for the comment and so happy you liked this recipe. Your family's version sounds great too!
great receipe. Love fagiole!
Thank you, Jeanann!
My favorite soup. I like it a little thick but I've never used a blender will have to try that. Also never put pancetta in it because this and Pizza were no meat Friday night staples in our house growing up. Will have to try that too. Yours looks so good I can't believe it's 95 degrees outside but now I want pasta Faggioli
Thank you, Louise!
Made as written. A fantastic recipe. Great textures. Thank you very much
Hi Jim, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed!
Fantastic Video Jim ! The best I have seen so far.
Thank you, Barbara!
Excellent taste but I’ll stick to pasta added. It’s just two of us and you can’t freeze it with the pasta.
Hi Sharon. For leftovers, it is a good idea to just hold off and separate the pasta. Thanks for the comment.
I make Pasta Fazool almost every week. It's comforting, filling, flexible, and budget-friendly. I add carrots to mine and sometimes omit the pasta (especially when I make a big batch and freeze the leftovers). I can always add cooked pasta (see Jim's hints) when I reheat.
Thank you, KB!
I have yet to make this, but I most definitely will. When I want to mash up some of the beans in a recipe, I use my manual potato masher and just press it down in the pot a few times. Just thought I’d share. 😇
I had been searching for years for a delicious white Pasta Fagioli. I used to find it at a small deli like 25 years ago, so that's how long I've been searching. This is it... if not better than the one I loved. I give it 10 stars and will be making my dad a big batch this weekend. Well, off to the store for more ingredients.
Hi Sandy, thank you for the wonderful comment and I'm so happy I was able to help you end your search! Hope your dad enjoys it as well!
Easy to prepare the ingredients are always on hand and delicious!!
All of your recipes are like that. Just so real and down to earth
Thank you, Linda. I appreciate the comment!
I love this I omit the pancetta and I use veggie stock I make this probably twice a month it is amazing I also make garlic knots on the side delish highly recommend this recipe and the left overs are even better 🤌🏻
Thank you for the comment, Chris! I agree that this one (and most soups) taste so much better left over!
This dish was awesome just what my family was craving. I came across your you tube channel when I was searching for peppers and eggs (which that was awesome too). I have been binge watching the videos and have saved a bunch of recipes. These recipes remind me of my grandmothers too. Growing up in South Philly the streets smelled like gravy every Sunday. I’ll be trying a bunch more recipes.
Hi Sandy, I'm so happy to hear you're enjoying the videos and recipes! Thanks for the comment!
Made it! Loved it!
Hi Bob, thank you for the comment and so happy you liked it!
Excited to try this recipe, but I do have one question! If plan on cooking the pasta separately to prevent overcooking, would you change the amount of water in the base-soup itself?
Hi Bethany, yes you can reduce the water. I'd say by about half and then add more if needed. I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you Jim, I have not had this for years, my grandma made it when I was a kid. As soon as I saw your recipe I called my 89 year old mother and said guess what I am making you for dinner. Made her day!
Hi Cindy, thanks for sharing this with me! I hope you and your mom enjoyed it!
I love your recipe and love to watch you in the kitchen. Good stuff.
Hi Gosia, thanks for the comment and so happy you're enjoying the recipes!
Cannot wait to try this!!!
Great recipe, especially on a rainy…chilly night in upstate NY! My husband is not a garlic lover so I eased up and minced three cloves and the flavor was amazing. Loved the Rosemary! Wonderful flavor. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe!!
Hi Jane, so happy you enjoyed it, and agree it's perfect for a chilly, rainy night! Thanks for the comment.
Hi! Found you through your video with Pro Home Cooks, subbed and following! Your pasta dishes make me hungry haha. Trying this one tonight and wondering if I am able to find and do use the cheese rind, doew it melt fully or does it needs to be removed at the end? Thanks for your content and your attention.
Hi Shannon, thanks for the comment, and welcome to the channel! The cheese rind won't dissolve fully so you'll need to remove it at the end. Hope you enjoy the pasta fagioli!
I made your fazool with the rosemary and cheese rind that night and fell head over heels. We have it now every week. We call it Pasta For Fools, because we ourselves are ridiculous idiots (fools). Your dish makes me wicked happy. I'm in love with pancetta and cheese rinds. I'm actually off to make this now for friends because I can't stop telling them about it. Thanks for changing my life! I should probably go try MORE of your recipes...LOL
Hi Shannon, thanks so much for the comment and I'm thrilled to hear how much you enjoyed the pasta fazool!
I made this last night and it was delicious. I added a hand full of mushrooms that needed to be used and bumped up the red pepper flakes. Otherwise I followed your recipe. I will make this again soon.
Hi Gwendolyn, I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it and will make it again soon. Thanks for the comment!
I liked the simplicity of this recipe. Made tonight and subbed in Impossible Meats Italian Sausage for the pancetta. It was delicioso.
Hi Antonio, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed!
GoodGriefLouise ( Bill )
Jim, in the second bullet point of your notes you said. "If you are cooking a large amount for 1 person and desire leftovers, be sure to cook the pasta separately. I'm not sure what you meant. the "1 person" has me stumped. Could you elaborate a bit for me. Thanks. I really like your channel and the way you explain the process and also how you have these printable recipes.
Hi there, I understand why the wording would have you stumped. We're fixing the recipe card to be less confusing and appreciate you pointing this out! What we mean really is that if you plan to have leftovers, it might be best to cook the pasta separately since it may become too mushy after sitting for a few days. If you are feeding 4-6 people, you can just cook the pasta in the soup since you may not have leftovers. Hope that clarifies it and so happy you enjoy the channel and recipes!
I just finished making this and it's cooling on the stove as I write this. My house smells soooo good and the soup is DELICIOUS! I only made 3 changes, I had to use (had to - LOL) bacon instead of pancetta and a 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes instead of the 3 plum tomatoes. I didn't drain the tomatoes, thinking the excess liquid would be sucked up by the pasta. I also wrapped my rosemary sprig in cheesecloth and hung it on the side of the pot while the ingredients simmered. I'm not crazy about rosemary leaves in my soup! 😆 One last thing - I used homemade chicken stock instead of water. This soup is the perfect consistency for me, not too thick, not too thin, just right! ❤️
Hi Anne, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed it!
Just made this for Super Bowl tomorrow….delicious!!! Even my picky sister will like it! Thanks! Love your youtube channel! 😁
Hi Trish, I hope you all enjoy and thanks for the comment!
I'm making hogties right now, do we make as written or the video? There are slight variations....
Autocorrect!!! should say " I'm, making this"
Hi Jaime, a good rule of thumb is to follow the written recipe as I'll sometimes make improvements to the recipe and while the written one is easy to edit, I can't go back and change the video. Hope that makes sense.
Yes! Thank you!! On the stove now...wish me luck..lol!
Hi Jim. Thanks for all the great work you do sharing your excellent recipes here on the blog as well as on YouTube. I really appreciate the time you put in, but perhaps more so, all the commentary you give us about making recipes to our own tastes... like, "I'm using 3 cloves of garlic but go ahead and use 12 if you LOVE garlic." I'm not a new cook so I know to use my intuition, but many people are still a little unsure in the kitchen and I think this kind of thing is best for making people confident home cooks.
Anyhow, this recipe is a great one. I didn't have and sadly could not procure a nice parm rind but even without that, this was an easy, delicious, quick, and budget-conscious fagioli. Really couldn't ask for better. Because I was missing the parm rind, I went ahead and added enough chicken bouillion to account for just two cups of the total water listed in the recipe.
Also want to mention, because I needed 5 dinners and 2 lunches out of this, I went ahead and cooked the pasta in the soup pot. Despite accidentally taking it just a little past al dente, when leftovers were reheated for lunch the next day, the pasta was still pretty nice. Far from mushy, it wasn't even overly soft or tender. Just a little more tender than the night before. Again, couldn't have asked for better. So, I can say that this is a perfect recipe. Thanks!
Hi Melissa, I so appreciate the wonderful comment, thank you! I'm so happy you're enjoying the recipes and videos!
Bellissimo lavoro,bravo continua cosi!!
Hi Serafina, thanks for the comment!
We ate this so much growing up . Thanks for sharing . I’m going to start making it again
Hi Kendra, I'm so happy you enjoyed the recipe and appreciate the comment!
One of my new go-to recipes. Super easily and delicious! I've made it once with sausage instead of pancetta and that was good too.
Hi Ben, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed it!
Made this today very good but I only used one cup of pasta and blended one can of beans 👍
Hi Tino, so happy you enjoyed and really appreciate the comment!
Hi Jim, I meant to comment over the winter when I made this because it was yet another recipe which reminded me of my mother & Nana's Pasta e Fagioli. I'm planning on making it again later this week but, rather than opening a can of San Marzano tomatoes, if I use paste or a small can of tomatoes, how much of either of them would you recommend to mimic the 3 plum tomatoes? FYI - To date in my Sip and Feast soup journey I've made your: Lemon Chicken Orzo, Chicken Noodle w/Meatballs, Italian Wedding, Macaroni/Broccoli w/Meatballs, Lentil, Zucchini, Split Pea and White Bean. My family & friends know me well & routinely ask if I need them to replenish my Chinese soup container collection for when they pick up a quart or 2! As you can tell I'm a soup lover, especially since it freezes beautifully in Ziploc bags which can be stored flat in the freezer. Thanks as always!
Hi Judy, thanks for your comment and so happy you're enjoying the recipes! For paste, I'd start with 1 tablespoon. If you're using crushed tomatoes, 3 ounces or so should suffice. Hope you enjoy!
easy to do recipe great Taste loved it
Hi Tony, so happy you enjoye the recipe and thanks for the comment!
Great recipe! It’s now the second time I make it and it’s such a joy to cook, and real comfort food. I actually love the extra thick leftovers with the pasta in it 😄 almost like a stew.
Hi Clara, I'm so happy you enjoyed this one and really appreciate the comment!
I gave enjoyed all your wonderful recipes and your videos!,I'm a true fan and can't believe I spent months in Ridge NY caring for my Mother in law. We could have been neighbors Lol
Hi Linda, so happy you're enjoying your recipes and thanks for the comment!
I enjoy making all your recipes, Jim. Keep them coming!!
Hi Faith, thanks for the comment and so happy you're enjoying the recipes!