Pasta e fagioli is a classic Italian soup that’s perfect for a cozy night in. Beans, pancetta, garlic, and plenty of veggies make this one flavorful soup!
What is pasta e fagioli?
Pasta and beans! This dish started as a “peasant” dish with inexpensive ingredients, and it’s definitely stood the test of time because it’s so tasty.
Pancetta is a salty Italian bacon, basically. You can substitute normal bacon or even prosciutto if you wish. I buy pre-diced pancetta from the deli section of my local grocery store, but you can definitely cut it into cubes yourself if you buy a chunk of it.
How to make pasta e fagioli soup
- Sauté the pancetta, carrots, onion, and celery;
- Add garlic and diced tomatoes and cook until the liquid has reduced;
- Add chicken broth and beans and bring the soup to a boil;
- Add the pasta and cook until it’s tender.
The secret to making this soup really flavorful is the step where we add the tomatoes and reduce the liquid. It really concentrates the flavors and is well worth the extra 10 minutes or so that it takes.
Pro tip: If you find the soup is a bit thick for you, feel free to thin it out by adding more chicken broth or water. If you have leftovers, the pasta will likely soak even more of the broth up, so same thing… add more water or chicken broth when reheating if you wish.
Want to make this soup in your Instant Pot? Try my Instant Pot pasta e fagioli recipe instead.
Aside from being delicious, this soup is relatively healthy. There’s not a ridiculous quantity of pancetta in here… just enough that you know it’s there. It’s hearty and filling and perfect for winter temperatures.
Serve this with some extra parmesan grated on top and a slice of crusty bread and you will have some very happy tummies!
Have you ever made this traditional Italian soup?
Questions? Let me know in the comments below!
Easy Pasta e Fagioli
- 1 (4.4 ounce) package diced pancetta
- 1/2 large onion chopped
- 4 sticks celery chopped
- 3 medium carrots chopped or sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (28 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
- 4 dashes Italian seasoning
- 4 cups chicken broth/stock
- 1 (15 fluid ounce) can red kidney beans drained
- 1 (15 fluid ounce) can white kidney beans drained
- 1 cup pasta (ditalini or macaroni)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Shaved parmesan cheese optional, for serving
Add the pancetta to a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté until it starts to get crispy. I like to prep the other veggies while doing this step.
Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the garlic, followed by the diced tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Be sure to scrape up the brown bits. Let it bubble until the liquid is noticeably reduced (stir occasionally) to help concentrate the flavor. This should take 8-10 minutes or so.
Add the chicken broth and beans to the pot. Increase the heat to high. Once the soup is boiling, add the pasta.
Reduce the heat to a rapid simmer and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the pasta is nice and tender. I suggest stirring every few minutes so the pasta doesn't stick the bottom of the pan.
Season soup with salt & pepper as needed (the soup should be fairly salty already). This soup is delicious served with some shaved parmesan!
- The pasta in these types of soup tends to soak up the broth, so you may want to add more broth/stock when reheating leftovers. If the soup is too thick for you once the pasta has finished cooking, thin it out with more chicken broth if desired.
- You don't have to be exact with the pancetta measurements... anything in the ballpark works.
- Use low-sodium chicken broth if sensitive to salt.
- Want to kick the flavor up even more? Throw in a parmesan rind when cooking this soup.
- Try the Instant Pot version of this recipe if you wish.