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4.95 from 85 votes

Pasta Fagioli

Pasta fagioli is a comforting Italian-American soup made with cannellini beans, ditalini pasta, tomato, pancetta, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1/4 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, the rosemary if using, 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 1/3 of the beans into a regular blender and pulse. If using an immersion blender, remove the rosemary sprig and parm rind before blending. 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.


Calories: 603kcal | Carbohydrates: 90.7g | Protein: 32.1g | Fat: 11.6g | Saturated Fat: 2.9g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 437mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 14.1g | Sugar: 3.1g | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 3mg