This Authentic traditional Italian Pasta Fagioli Recipe is a simple soup-like dish of small pasta (Ditalini) and beans in a delicious tomato flavored saucy broth. It’s a hearty lunch or dinner dish. This comfort food recipe is ready in 30 minutes with 6 simple ingredients! Vegetarian
Traditional Italian Pasta Fagioli Recipe
My mom, who was an Italian immigrant (r.i.p.) from the Neapolitan area (Campania) of Italy, made me this dish when I was a little girl. She had a way of making anything taste great. I have access to many authentic Italian recipes.
She called it “pasta fazool,” which is the Italian dialect name for this recipe. I grew up not knowing the proper Italian language because my mom never spoke it to anyone as far as I can remember. When I went to Italy when I was nineteen, I asked my cousin “What language are they speaking? Is it a different dialect?” She said “It’s Italian- the proper way.” Geez I had no idea.
Americans call it “pasta fazool” and probably don’t know the correct Italian spelling for beans is “fagioli.” Therefore, “p asta e fagioli” means “pasta and beans.” It’s a rather simple dish with big flavor.
This is also true for what they call “Pizza Gaina” which is really “Pizza Pieno” otherwise know as Pizza Rustica a.k.a. Southern Italian Easter Pie.
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission, but the price you pay is the same.
It originated as a peasant dish made with inexpensive ingredients. Therefore, if you see recipes containing ground beef, that’s not how it was originally made. Of course, there are variations of this recipe both in Italy and in America.
How do you pronounce “fagioli” in Italian?
“Fa-jee-oli” is the way it sounds but, “fa-joli” works too. This is my own phonetic spelling of it.
Authentic Pasta Fagioli Recipe
My mom made this recipe with red kidney beans but, I like it with cannellini beans instead. She also made a variation of this dish with potatoes instead of pasta and a more common variation of “pasta e patate” which is pasta and potatoes.
It’s up to you which beans you want to use. I’ve included a list of substitutions below. Nonetheless, this recipe is easy-to-make!
The full, printable recipe is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
The most common pasta for Pasta e Fagioli is ditalini pasta. It’s a small tubular pasta similar to ziti but, much smaller. See my list of substitutions for the pasta below. Basically, you want a small pasta.
First, make the pasta according to package directions and look for the time listed for “al dente,” unless you like it more tender. It’s your dish so, make it how you like it.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by adding olive oil, chopped onions, minced carrots and minced garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the carrots are almost tender. Be sure to cut them as small as you can to speed up cooking.
Then, add the canned tomato sauce, salt and pepper, stir and cover. Cook for 15 minutes.
I don’t use tomato paste much, usually just in my slow cooker chili. I don’t even use it in my homemade Sunday gravy (tomato sauce.) The reason being is, if you add too much, it can make your dish bitter so, you must use it carefully. I like the tomato paste tube for cooking.
You can use tomato paste in this recipe if you don’t have the canned sauce but, only use about a tablespoon and mix it with water or chicken broth.
My favorite beans are cannellini beans. They’re small, white kidney beans. Although they may get confused with great northern white beans, they’re a different variation but, they’ll work as as substitute in case you can’t find cannellini beans.
Next, add the rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans and cook for another two minutes (to heat them.)
Last, add the sauce, beans, and water to the pasta and stir. If you want it less soupy, add less water.
Can this be a one-pot meal?
This can be a one pot meal if you cook the pasta first, let it drain and then cook the remaining ingredients in the same pot. Then, add the drained pasta back in and stir.
This is a wholesome and filling, comfort food meal. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top! Yum!
Eat this wholesome soup with crusty Italian bread too. It becomes an even more hearty meal with bread, although carb heavy. It’s definitely filling and economical and a great way to fill up your guests before an expensive main dish.
My mom never put chicken broth in her pasta fazool but, you certainly can add some if you want it be more soupy and less tomato-like. Just halve the tomato sauce and add 1/2 cup (or more) of chicken broth.
- Use orecchiette pasta or mini shells instead of Ditalini pasta.
- Pinto, Red or Dark Red kidney beans or Great Northern beans can be substituted for cannellini beans.
- I don’t suggest it but, if it’s all you have on hand, mix one tablespoon of tomato paste with 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth to make the tomato broth for this recipe.
Italians eat soup and pasta from the same type of shallow bowls. Below is a picture (click on picture or affiliate link to purchase from Amazon) of a hand painted, ceramic set that are beautiful.
They’re perfect for gifts!
I know you’re going to like this Traditional Italian Pasta Fagioli recipe a.k.a. pasta fazool. Make it today!
You may also like:
More Italian recipes.
More pasta recipes.
Authentic Italian Pasta Fagioli Recipe
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup onions
- 1/4 cup minced carrots
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 29 oz tomato sauce
- 15 oz cannellini beans, rinsed and drained or Great Northern Beans
- 1 cup water chicken broth may be used
- 2 cups Ditalini pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- First, begin to cook pasta according to package directions then drain.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add oil, onions, carrots, and garlic. Cook on medium/high heat until carrots are almost tender- about 5-7 minutes.
- Then, add canned tomato sauce, salt and pepper to the onion mixture. Stir, cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Next, add beans to the tomato sauce and cook two more minutes.
- Then, add the tomato sauce, beans and water to the pasta and stir.