Traditional pasta e fagioli soup is a creamy and rich Italian dish full of flavour and ready in just 20 minutes!
There aren't many traditional Italian one-pot pasta recipes, but luckily pasta e fagioli is one of them!
This protein-rich quick Italian pasta recipe is comfort food at its best.
It comes together in just about 20 minutes and calls for basic ingredients you most probably have in your kitchen already.
Both grown-ups and kids love it, making it such a fantastic option for a quick and easy family meal!
WHAT IS PASTA E FAGIOLI SOUP?
The traditional pasta e fagioli recipe features short pasta and borlotti beans (fagioli in Italian), which are also called cranberry beans.
Like many other traditional recipes, there are several variations. Some recipes call for tomatoes, others feature pancetta or lard.
Today I’m sharing the recipe I grew up with in Italy, handed down from my dad to me.
In typical Italian fashion, you basically need just three main ingredients: pasta, borlotti beans, vegetable stock.
Plus some aromatics and extra-virgin olive oil.
Most short pasta shapes will go well with this quick pasta soup. Anelli, ditali, conchiglie, orecchiette, gnocchetti sardi or broken spaghetti are some great options.
Whenever possible, go for bronze-cut pasta made in Italy (Gragnano pasta is my favourite), which is slightly coarser than usual commercial pasta.
Its unique texture makes it the best vehicle for a great sauce. It also keeps the pasta “al dente” easier than non-bronze cut pasta.
Tradition calls for dried borlotti beans, but canned beans perform surprisingly well and will save you extra time in the kitchen.
If you want to use dried beans, you need to soak them and cook them before proceeding with this recipe.
Personally, my favorite option is cooked borlotti beans sold into glass jars.
They taste so much better and have a better texture, plus, they’re not expensive.
Onion: Use yellow or white onion, or sub with shallots for a more subtle flavor.
Chili: If you like a little bit of heat, you can add a pinch of red chili flakes.
Fresh herbs: I like to add a pinch of chopped rosemary, sage and parsley. Fresh thyme works amazingly well too.
This classic basic version makes the most of basic ingredients, but you can make so many variations!
Here below are a few favourite add-ins that you can throw into the mix:
Cherry tomatoes: 4-5 cherry or piccadilly tomatoes can add a nice layer of flavour.
Tomato paste: double concentrated tomato paste provides a bump of umami and a gentle touch of colour to your sauce.
Extra veggies: You can add some finely chopped carrot and potato for some extra nutrients and texture.
Pancetta: stir-fried pancetta, bacon or finely chopped Parma ham add a nice smoky and meaty flavour.
Pecorino: add a pinch of grated Pecorino cheese right at the end, for a nice punch of salty and peppery flavour.
Parmigiano Reggiano: add a sprinkle of grated Parmigiano to give your pasta an always-welcome umani boost.
PASTA E FAGIOLI SOUP TIPS
To get the most amazing creamy and soupy results, I recommend blending part of the soup.
Blend ½ the beans with a ladle of stock until creamy and smooth, then return it into the pot with the remaining beans.
Make sure the borlotti-broth ratio is well balanced. You need the mixture to be loose enough, so that the dried pasta can be cooked in the same pot.
If there’s not enough broth, the pasta will absorb it, resulting in a dry sauce.
So, always keep a cup of hot stock aside in case you need to loosen up the sauce.
As I mentioned, I like to cook the pasta directly into the pot with the beans, for a good reason.
Whilst cooking, some of the starches in the pasta get released and dissolve in the broth, resulting into an amazing, creamy and brothy pasta e fagioli.
Here’s a secret - Pasta e fagioli tastes even better the next day!
Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 days. You can then reheat on the stove over low heat, until nicely warm.
THE VEGAN BEAN COOKBOOK
A similar version of this quick one-pot pasta with beans is also featured in my new book "The Vegan Bean Cookbook"!
The goal of the book is to show vegan and non-vegan readers that beans are not boring AT ALL!
Beans are conveniently cheap, packed with protein, and incredibly versatile.
There's so much you can do with the humble bean! From simple and nourishing pasta dishes to fun and incredible desserts, and I will show you all in this cookbook.
MORE PASTA RECIPES TO TRY
- Shiitake Mushroom Pasta
- Prawn Linguine - Authentic Italian Recipe
- Vegan Broccoli Pesto Pasta
- Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake
- Pasta e ceci (Italian pasta and chickpeas)
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram tag @thepetitecook!
Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Traditional Italian Pasta e Fagioli
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion finely minced
- 2 cans borlotti beans, drained 15 oz /425 g each
- 3 sage leaves finely chopped
- 1 tsp rosemary leaves finely chopped
- 4 cups hot vegetable stock
- 12 ounces short pasta
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
- Sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- Heat 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive in medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, add the onion and cook until it begins to turn golden, adding a bit of warm water if necessary.
- Add the borlotti beans, sage and rosemary leaves, pour in half the stock and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then season with ½ teaspoon (or to taste) of fine sea salt.
- Remove half of the bean soup mixture, transfer into a blender, blend it until smooth and return it into the pot. Pour the remaining stock into the pot, add in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked through.
- Divide the pasta e fagioli among bowls, top with fresh parsley, optional Parmesan cheese and freshly-cracked black pepper, drizzle with the remaining extra-virgin olive oil and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.