Authentic Pasta Fagioli (or Pasta Fazool as some people say) is a simple, meatless dinner that takes less than 25 minutes to make! Perfectly al dente pasta is mixed with creamy beans for an easy, satisfying dinner!
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This pasta e fagioli recipe is from my Grandma. She made this all the time as an easy way to get her family to eat protein, and it's also a really cheap meal! This recipe became popular as a soup recipe from the Olive Garden, but this is actually more of a pasta dish than a soup recipe.
Pasta fagioli means "Pasta and beans" in Italian. The great thing about this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking. You can add other veggies, other beans, or different types of pasta. More on that information below in the blog below! The full recipe is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
There is nothing more satisfying that a delicious bowl of pasta! Chicken carbonara, Italian broccoli and pasta, and chicken sausage mini pepper pasta are all easy and delicious recipes the whole family will love!
Ingredients You'll Need
You only need a few basic ingredients for this great recipe! Most of the ingredients are pantry items that are easily found in the grocery store.
- One pound of dry pasta. Your favorite small pasta shape.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Onions. Chopped into small pieces.
- Garlic cloves. It's not an Italian recipe if it doesn't have garlic!
- Italian seasoning.
- An 8 ounce can of tomato sauce. If you do not have tomato sauce, you can use tomato paste and 1 cup of water.
- Canned beans. Two 15 ounce cans.
What type of Pasta to Use
For this recipe, you'll want to use a short pasta such as small shells, ditalini pasta, or elbow pasta. You can use a dried pasta or a fresh pasta for this recipe.
If you family prefers a longer pasta, there's no rules against using rotini or ziti. It's up to you and your family!
Different Types of Beans
You'll need two cans of beans for this recipe. I used small cannellini beans because they are tender white beans that my family loves, but you can use borlotti beans, cranberry beans, pinto beans, or large white kidney beans.
Let's Make Pasta Fagioli!
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add the extra-virgin olive oil, chopped celery and chopped onions to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 2 minutes until translucent. Add the chopped garlic and Italian seasoning and stir with a wooden spoon.
Drain the beans and add one of them to the pot. Add the tomato sauce to the pot. With an immersion blender blend the sauce until it is creamy. After you have completely blended the sauce, add the second drained can of beans. Stir and keep the sauce simmering over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
Pro tip! For extra flavor, add a parmesan rind to the tomato broth.
While the sauce cooks, fill a large pot with water. Bring it to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of salt, and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water before draining the pasta. Drain the pasta and add it to the flavorful tomato sauce. Stir to combine. If the sauce becomes too dry, add more of the water to the pasta. Stir until fully combined and then serve. Buon appetito!
How To Serve Authentic Pasta Fagioli
- Serve this pasta is large soup bowls topped with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
- Grab of chunk of crusty bread, like crusty sourdough bread, or garlic bread and soak up the broth from the pasta.
- Make it spicy by adding red pepper flakes to your pasta.
Place leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The next day when you are ready to reheat the pasta, place it in a microwave safe bowl and add some broth to the bowl to loosen up the sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unlike minestrone which is a classic Italian soup, a traditional pasta e fagioli recipe is not soupy. It's more of a pasta dish then a soup dish. To make it more soupy, feel free to add extra broth to the tomato and beans mixture. You can use chicken broth, vegetable broth, chicken stock, or vegetable stock. Add 2 cups to the tomato and bean sauce before adding the pasta.
If you use dried beans, you would have to cook them all the way through first. They will not cook enough in the tomato broth. You can use your Instant Pot to make beans first and then add the cooked beans to the saute pan.
The classic is celery, but you can add chopped carrots, shredded spinach, cut up peppers, or whatever veggies you have in the house! This dish was originally a peasant dish that used whatever type of food you had in the refrigerator.
Yes! You can saute up Italian sausage, chicken sausage, or ground beef. Whatever makes this dish a comforting dish in your house!
Authentic Pasta Fagioli
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 2 stalks Celery
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 2 15 oz Cans of Beans Cannellini Beans
- 8 oz Can of tomato sauce
- 1 lb Pasta Small cut
- Chop the onion and celery into small pieces.
- Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven. Add the onion and celery to the Dutch oven and cook for 2 minutes until the onion is soft.
- Mince the garlic and add it to the Dutch oven.
- Drain one can of beans and pour it into the Dutch oven. Add the tomato sauce and Italian seasoning to the pot. Cook for 10 minutes.
- With an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth.
- Add the second can of drained beans and lower the heat to medium-low. Season with salt and pepper to your taste and cook for 15 minutes.
- While the sauce simmers, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the Dutch oven. Turn the heat off and stir the pasta until it is fully combined. If the sauce looks too dry or you would like it more soupy, add more pasta water. Serve!
- If you would prefer a more soupy pasta fagioli, add 2 cups of broth to the tomato and bean sauce while it simmers.
- Use cannellini beans, red beans, borlotti beans, or whatever types of beans are your family favorite.
- Feel free to add more veggies such as carrots, chopped peppers, chopped zucchini, or spinach.