Pasta and Beans: Pasta e Fagioli

I could live on this recipe — a quick version of my Gran'pa Emmanuel's masterwork.

Total Time:
30 min
10 min
20 min

6 BIG servings

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
  • 2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
  • 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini
  • Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
  • Crusty bread, for mopping

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup and place pot on table on a trivet. Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese. Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.

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Bright, fruity Italian red wine

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    190 Reviews
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    This recipe is great! But to get to it on the new website takes me around the block 30 times..... please do something!!!
    I'm not a fan of soups and unless they're creamed-something-or-other, I rarely find them satisfying. However, this soup is both tasty and satisfying. I had intended on making it as a side to burgers for dinner on this rainy evening but nixed the burger idea after having a cup of this soup for lunch. No one is gonna need anything else to eat.  
    Other than an extra carrot and stalk of celery, and having to use dried herbs as I did not have fresh on hand, I made no changes. I think chopped summer squash would be a very good addition.
    Delicious, but I used dry herbs and don't add the pasta..
    This was a great recipe. When I make it again, however, I will use less rosemary and a little less pasta, and a more garlic.
    KEEPER: I cannot remember the last time I tried a recipe and didn't feel the need to "tweek" it. My family and I loved this recipe. I served it with fresh crusty bread, a side of olive oil w/s&p, and freshly grated parm. MMM!
    An incredible, straight-forward recipe. I just made an organic, vegan, gluten-free version of this. I'm a complete novice (I've been known to consistently screw up the simplest kitchen tasks), and I have to say that this recipe was SO easy to follow. Prep takes a few minutes, but once you get everything together, you just throw it all in and let it cook. It is simply delectable.  
    I used two cups of organic wild rice pasta, organic vegetable broth, and about 1.5 tablespoons of hot sauce. Crushed tomatoes worked really well and gave the soup a great texture. 
    Everyone was amazed at how delicious this soup was. I added Italian sausage and escarole and it was amazing.
    I rarely rate recipes but rather keep to myself and adjust based on other reviews, this recipe needs some additional flavor...if you don't like a super-light tasting soup. I suggest the following: 1) make sure to brown the pancetta to almost brown before adding anything else; like you like your bacon, and double the quantity. Despite cooking it for a while, the consistency never changes if you don't do this...almost crisp. 2) add a half can of tomato paste when adding tomato sauce/crushed tomatoes. 3) Don't deviate from suggested pasta amount. I added another half-cup of uncooked and after resting, it ended up like lasagna, no juice...but still tasty with cheese which is a must, sprinkled on top. A pinch of pepper flakes would help add flavor/spice while sautéing pancetta.  
    Would love it more, MY way but Rachel cooks for a more general audience.
    What a great easy delicious recipe. Best part my boys loved it and stated it was the best pasta fagioli they ever ate. Love it :)
    This was delicious and I cannot believe how quickly it came together! Literally 45 all in including chopping vegetables. I followed the recipe exactly (omitting the pancetta since we were looking for a vegetarian version) and the proportions of broth, veggies, and pasta were perfect - it's a very hearty thick winter soup, just like pasta fagioli is supposed to be. Also, it was very flavorful, despite only using a few spices. A++.
    Easy and delicious recipe..Best Pasta Fagioli after my uncle's!
    This recipe was so easy and delicious! My 3 year old son loved it! I would make this over and over again!!
    This was very good and so easy to make. My mother used to make pasta fagioli all the time but I thought I would try this recipe. I made a few changes. I don't like onions so I used shallots instead. I also pureed half of a can of the beans, it made the soup a little thicker. I also took the rosemary out about half way through. I thought it was a little overpowering, but when we were enjoying the soup, the flavor of the rosemary was just right. Delicious!!!
    This is also one of my family's soups usually served on Fridays or Lent it was meatless. I use Rachel's recipe because it is adds on those ingredients that make it so hearty and tasty. For the vegetarian version we always made, leave out the pancetta, use only olive oil and water as the base of the soup. I cook the pasta separately. The soup gets thicker as the cooked pasta stays in it. The soup tastes better and gets thicker each day! Enjoy
    Quick and tasty! I've made this numerous times but omitted the pancetta (too expensive and used only ONE stem of rosemary and TWO springs of thyme. Fresh rosemary can have a very strong flavor and overpower the dish. As a vegetarian version, it is easy on the wallet and filling making it an economical dish for even a family on a budget. 
    Grow the herbs in a kitchen window box and save even more money!
    I am married to an Italian; this is his favorite Italian soup. I added more carrots (5 and more celery, a few small baby peppers..and a jalapeno pepper..more parsley, and fresh 6 leaves..I found that since the pasta absorbs the liquid, I ended up adding about 3 cups of beef broth in addition to the quart of chicken broth as my hubby likes his soup "brothy"..the beef broth added flavor..I had a whole sprig of rosemary..did not find that overpowering..think the basil is important..added a little more water too. Don't put in any more pasta than is in the recipe..I really think a cup would be enough..I also used cherrywood smoked bacon which has such great flavor..he lapped it up! I used a small can diced tomatoes and a few heavy squirts of tomato sauce...thanks Rachael.
    WAY, WAY, WAY too much Rosemary !!!!!! I was really looking forward to this soup, but unfortunately, all I can taste is the Rosemary ! I didn't even use the whole 2 sprigs !!! Be very, very conservative on the Rosemary. Also, aside from the way too much Rosemary, it is just missing something altogether. Hopefully Alton Brown has a good recipe for this...(fingers crossed.
    Great flavors; a warm and hearty soup! My whole family gobbled this up. I made one minor change of cooking the pasta separately so as to avoid the pasta soaking up all the broth and I let the soup itself cook longer so the veggies cooked more. It was fabulous. Enjoy.
    I got the basic idea of flavor profile then used what I had.. Used bacon instead of pancetta, about 4/5 slices. I like a chunkier soup so I used 4 carrots and 2 ribs of celery. I used a can of crushed tomatoes instead of sauce. After fresh herbs went in I added a little dried thyme (1/2 tsp. I think it needed a little bit more. I cooked the pasta (medium shells separately, so when the boys came home from their practices they could ladle hot soup over a bowl of pasta and the pasta would stay al dente instead of turning to mush. I'm always looking for recipes I can keep warm to feed many different eating schedules. Big hit!! I got a couple bowls in the freezer. I will cook some fresh pasta when time comes to re-heat. Will definitely cook this one again and again!
    Super Delish and FAST. This is a definate make again. Truely a 30-min meal!
    This recipe was great and it also froze well. I did change the recipe a bit though. I used left over ham instead of pancetta. I also used dried rosemary and thyme.
    Made this soup last night. One word...TASTY. Only made one change to the recipe and that was decreasing pasta to 3/4 of a cup. PERFECT
    I finally found a recipe that works for this type of soup. My husband is Italian and said this was fantastic. I could eat this everyday. Easy to make, I kept it on the stove for about an hour on low just to make sure everything had a change to blend together.
    Very good. Satisfying and flavorful. Reviewers surprised by disappearing broth must not make many soups with pasta. The pasta, of course, absorbs all the liquid as it sits. Precooking the pasta before adding helps somewhat and adding more broth when reheating will help a little.
    I made this recipe for the first time about two weeks ago, following her recipe exactly and it was great! My husband and baby loved it as did I. I only have a question to others that maybe can help. I find that the longer it sits, it no longers seems like a soup but more of a pasta. I wonder if I cooked the pasta separately and add to the soup later if this would not happen. I've seen other recipes do this. I like to make a bit pot of it and keep it for at least a couple of days. If anyone has any suggestions, pls let me know. Thanks!
    I have made this easy and delicious receipe a few times now. Most recently, not wanting to shop for ingredients, I used dried thyme and rosemary, and American bacon. I also used a little more carrots, celery and onion, added a large can of pureed tomatoes, a half of jalapaneo for zest and a half of a left over fresh zucchini. Wow....this is delicious receipe and keeps us on our limited meat diet! The jalapaneo brings it all together. I also roasted some garlic gloves in ovoo to spread on our fresh whole grain french bread, made a mixed green salad and wha la!. Added water to keep the liquid for a soap, as the pasta grows and grows as it sits. Tasty, flavorfull, absolutely dddddddelicious! Thank you, Rachael, for sharing. I have added this to my "favorites".
    this was sooo delicious and quick! my only complaint is that the rosemary sprigs were a bit over powering.. I might use dry seasoning next time.. i also added some cubed ham i had leftover, excellent reciepe!
    This is probably the best soup that I have ever had.
    This soup was full of flavor and very filling. I forgot to put the celery in and think that it would have been even better with it. My husband really doesn't like carrots but he managed to eat an entire bowl. I noticed a lot of people said the broth was absorbed by the noodle,I did not find this problem to be true for me and I followed the recipe to a T. I would make this again but next time I would beef it up with some veggies and use a more interesting noodle.
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