December 2, 2022

Canadiannpizza

Cooking Is My World

Pasta e Fagioli – Once Upon a Chef

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

Teeming with vegetables, legumes, and pasta, this hearty pasta e fagioli soup is perfect for a chilly night.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Pasta e fagioli, literally “pasta and beans,” is a warming Italian soup, perfect for a chilly night. This version – adapted from a recipe by Joe Cicala, executive chef at Cicala in Philadelphia, and featured in The Washington Post – is the best I’ve tried. The broth is thickened slightly with puréed beans and vegetables, which makes it rich and satisfying. Serve pasta e fagioli with focaccia and a big Italian salad – I promise, it will warm you up and make you happy!

What you’ll need to Make Pasta e Fagioli

pasta e fagioli ingredients

Before we get started, a few words about the ingredients:

  • Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly, often referred to as Italian bacon. Instead of being smoked like American bacon, it is cured with salt and spices and then dried. You can usually find pancetta conveniently diced and prepackaged in containers near the deli section; it’s a great time-saver. Otherwise, it is sold at the deli counter.
  • For the wine, use a bottle that’s inexpensive but still good enough to drink (no supermarket cooking wine!). Since the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup, feel free the buy mini bottles sold in packs of four – they are great to keep on hand for cooking.
  • For the lentils, I prefer French green lentils (or lentilles du Puy) because they hold their shape when cooked – a bonus when making lentil salads and some soups. If you can’t find them, any brown or green lentils will work.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by heating the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot, then add the pancetta.

pancetta and olive oil in pot

Cook until the fat begins to render, about 5 minutes.

pancetta rendering

Add the onions, carrots, and celery.

adding the onions, carrots, and celery to the potCook until the onions become translucent, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

adding the garlic to the cooked vegetables

Pour in the wine and cook until almost evaporated.

pouring the wine into the pot

Next, add the broth, salt, pepper, beans lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves and rosemary, and bring to a boil.

bringing the soup to a boil

Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you used. Use a ladle to transfer about one cup of the beans and a little broth to a blender.

beans and vegetables in a blender

Remove the center knob so steam can escape. Hold a paper towel or kitchen towel over the opening to prevent splatters. Purée until smooth and set aside.

puréed beans and vegetables

Meanwhile, add the dried pasta to the simmering broth.

adding the pasta to the simmering broth

Cook until the pasta is tender, then add the reserved purée back to the pot. The broth will be slightly thickened from both the pasta starch and the purée.

adding the bean and vegetable purée to the soup pot

If the soup seems too thick, thin it with a bit of water. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

stirring in the Parmigiano Reggiano

Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

You may also like

Pasta e Fagioli

Teeming with vegetables, legumes, and pasta, this hearty pasta e fagioli soup is perfect for a chilly night.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 2 medium ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans or chickpeas (or a combination), drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup dried lentils, rinsed (preferably French green lentils, but any green or brown lentils are fine)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ¾ cup pasta, such as elbow macaroni or ditalini
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat begins to render, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and increase the heat to medium; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  2. Add the wine and cook until it has nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, salt, pepper, beans, lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves, and rosemary. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you used.
  3. Use a ladle to transfer about 1 cup of the beans and veggies and a little liquid to a blender. Remove the center knob so steam can escape. Hold a paper towel or kitchen towel over the opening to prevent splatters. Purée until smooth and set aside.
  4. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to incorporate. Turn the heat up to a gentle boil and cook until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, 8 to 12 minutes depending on the type of pasta you used (follow timing on the package). The soup will thicken a bit by the time the pasta is cooked. Fish out and discard the bay leaves.
  5. Stir the reserved puréed mixture into the soup. (If you’re having a hard time getting the mixture out of the blender, remove as much as you can with a rubber spatula, then add some of the hot soup broth to the blender and swirl around to loosen it up; it should come right out.) Cook briefly, until the soup is heated through.
  6. Remove the soup from heat and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. If the soup seems too thick, gradually add 1 to 2 cups of water or chicken broth and thin to the desired consistency (the longer the soup sits on the stove, the thicker it will get). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired.
  7. Note: This soup is best served immediately; as it sits, the pasta and beans soak up the broth. If the soup gets too thick, you can thin it with a bit of broth or water.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be frozen, without the pasta, for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until simmering, add the pasta, and cook until the pasta is tender. (The beans may have soaked up some of the broth while frozen, so add more broth to thin out the soup, if desired.)

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Serving size: About 2 cups
  • Calories: 691
  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 81g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 17g
  • Protein: 36g
  • Sodium: 1214mg
  • Cholesterol: 26mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

See more recipes: