This classic Italian pasta soup with bean and tomatoes is perfect to enjoy for lunch or add a crusty bread and a salad for a hearty dinner soup.
If you are anything like me, you're probably pretty well stocked with pantry items these days, including canned tomatoes and beans. So I thought I'd just throw this one out there, as classic Pasta e Fagioli is perfect for making something delicious with all those canned goods!
Enjoy this hearty, classic Italian pasta soup for a hearty lunch, or add a crusty bread (or garlic bread) and a salad for a lovely pantry dinner.
Here are the simple ingredients you will need for this soup ...
- Pancetta - or bacon. Or omit for vegetarian
- Dried oregano leaves
- Red pepper flakes
- Tomato paste (optional)
- Can diced tomatoes - or whole canned tomatoes
- Can Cannelini beans - aka white kidney beans, or other type of bean
- Chunk of Parmesan rind (optional)
- Chicken broth - or vegetable broth, for vegetarian options
- Small pasta< - such as Ditaini, small shells, macaroni etc./li>
- Fresh parsley - (optionaL)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Freshly shaved Parmesan, for serving
Step by Step Photos
- Step 1: Brown the pancetta or bacon.
- Step 2: Add the diced onion and celery and cook until softened.
- Step 3: Add the garlic and herbs.
- Step 4: Add some tomato paste and cook for another minute.
- Step 5: Add the canned tomatoes.
- Step 6: Add the rinsed beans.
- Step 7: Cook the tomatoes and the beans together for about 10 minutes. *You can make ahead up to this point and refrigerate to finish when ready to eat later.
- Step 8: Add the broth.
- Step 9: Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
- What kind of pasta can I use in this soup? Any small pasta is fine. I've used Ditalini here. Small shells, macaroni or even orzo would work as well.
- Can I use a different kind of bean? Absolutely, use what you have. Red kidney, navy, great northern or pinto beans would be great options.
- Can I use canned whole tomatoes instead of diced? Yes. Just hand crush them before adding to the soup.
- What is a Parmesan rind? It's just the harder, darker outside of a Parmesan wedge. I like to keep the ends in a bag in my fridge for just these uses. If yours doesn't have a rind, just cut off a chunk of the Parmesan and use that. No fresh Parmesan? Just stir a few Tbsp of grated Parmesan into the soup instead.
- Can I make this ahead? Not really. This soup is best enjoyed fresh. If you make it ahead, when you return to it, you will have a stew. What you can do though is to make the first part of the soup earlier (through boiling the beans with the tomatoes and before adding the pasta), then refrigerate and finish the soup later when you're ready to eat.
I feel like a bit of a broken record, but I'm going to say it again :) Be sure to properly season your soup at the end of cooking. Taste it. If it tastes bland or flat, it needs salt. Some freshly ground pepper is nice, too. Need a touch more oregano? Stir that in at the end as well. And finally, top this soup with shavings of extra Parmesan (vs. grated). The hit of Parmesan is so lovely in this soup. Use your vegetable peeler to shave it on top before serving.
Classic Pasta e Fagioli
- 1/3 cup pancetta (diced (or bacon))
- 1 cup onion (diced)
- 1/3 cup celery (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (finely diced)
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes (or *see Note 1)
- 19 oz canned Cannelini beans (rinsed *see Note 2)
- Chunk of Parmesan rind
- 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 cup ditalini pasta (about 6 oz, *see Note 3)
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- Additional salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- Freshly shaved Parmesan (for serving)
- Heat a large pot over medium heat on the stove-top. Add the diced bacon and cook, stirring, until the fat cooks off and the bacon is starting to brown. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, another minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, another 30-45 seconds.
- Add the canned tomatoes (with their juices) and rinsed beans and stir to combine. Add the Parmesan rind, if using. Increase the heat under the pot, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the bean/tomato mixture for about 10 minutes. *You can make ahead to this point and then refrigerate to finish later when ready to eat.
- Add the chicken broth. Increase heat under the pot to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Add pasta and salt to the pot. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring very regularly at the start, to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot! Cook until the pasta is tender, about 8-10 minutes. *if your soup is getting too thick, add a splash of water to the pot, as needed. Remove Parmesan rind. Stir in fresh parsley and stir to combine.
- Taste soup and add additional salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed. Serve immediately, garnished with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.
2. You can use any canned beans, such as red kidney, pinto, great northern or navy beans.
3. Any small pasta will work here, such as small shells, macaroni or even orzo. This is best enjoyed freshly cooked, as the pasta will continue to absorb the broth as it sits and making ahead or leftover will become a stew quite quickly. Be sure to read the Tips and FAQ above the recipe card for more advice for making this recipe.