It's the time of year when I get the irresistible urge to throw a dutch oven on the stovetop and make a comforting soup recipe. Lucky for me, I have a very good friend with Italian heritage and years of experience in the kitchen. Not too long ago, she gave me this Authentic Pasta Fagioli Recipe, and I added it to my go-to hearty soup recipes.
Is this a Traditional Italian Pasta Fagioli Recipe?
According to my friend and various other sources, traditional Pasta e Fagioli, sometimes known as "Pasta Fazool," is usually a vegetarian, peasant dish with main ingredients, including beans, pasta, and greens. She said this was how her recipe started years ago. Then she married a meat eater. As a result, she added Italian sausage to this great recipe, and, as they say, the rest is history.
Serve this Italian Bean Soup as the main entree, or make this Panzanella Salad to add the perfect complementary dish.
Why You"ll Love this Recipe
It's a whole meal! Our Authentic Pasta Fagioli recipe has everything in it but the kitchen sink! You can make this one-pot dish with pasta, veggies, and meat in just about an hour. Soak up all that flavorful tomato broth with some crusty bread.
It's homemade! Forget the trip to the Olive Garden or another Italian restaurant! You can make this classic Italian soup at home, and the whole family will love it.
Fresh ingredients and the ability to change it up! The best part of making soup at home is you can customize the ingredients to fit your likes and dislikes. For this version, we added celery, onion, and carrots to pump up the veggie count. Another benefit of making your own soup is that you don't have to wonder what kind of preservatives or other additives are in it.
Large soup pot (approximately 4 quarts)
- Olive Oil
- Italian Sausage
- Chicken Stock
- Chicken Base
- Dried Basil
- Dried Parsley
- Black Pepper
- Bay leaf (optional)
- Parmesan rind (optional)
- Diced Tomatoes
- Ditalini Pasta - Any small-shape pasta will do. Just make sure it's dry pasta that's uncooked when you add it.
- Cannellini Beans - These are tender white beans with an earthy, nutty flavor. They are also called white kidney beans.
- Fresh Leafy greens - Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale or Escarole are good choices
- Salt and pepper to taste - The Italian sausage, cheese and broth add a good amount of saltiness. Add salt very carefully.
- Shredded or shaved parmesan for garnish.
*Please scroll down to the recipe card for ingredient amounts.
Step 1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil and sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up any large pieces, until browned.
Step 2. Add onions, carrots, and celery, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, making sure the ingredients don't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Step 3. Add garlic, and sautḗ for about 1 minute or until it becomes fragrant.
Step 4. Add chicken stock, water, base, seasonings, bay leaf, and rind (if using).
Step 5. Bring to a boil, and add pasta and beans.
Step 6. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered for approximately 12 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Stir frequently during the first few minutes, so the pasta won’t stick to the bottom.
Step 7. Add greens, and simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Step 8. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and serve topped with shredded or shaved parmesan cheese. Buon Appetito!
Since the pasta tends to absorb a lot of the liquid, add some extra broth just before putting it in the refrigerator for storage. That way, it will still have a brothy or soup consistency the next day.
Storage and Freezing
Store this soup in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze the soup in an airtight container for up to 6 months. I like to divide it into single-serving containers for easy thawing.
- If you have extra time, most soups benefit from standing a bit (30-60 minutes) to let the ingredients get to know each other! If not, the soup is tasty served right away.
- I do not add salt to this recipe because the sausage and cheese add saltiness. Instead of salt in soup recipes, I sometimes add the chicken base instead of salt for extra flavor.
- I love to make soups, but they can have a lot of chopping and prep time. You can save time (and tears) by chopping 2 or 3 large onions, and freezing them in containers or freezer bags. When I need them, I microwave slightly to scoop out what I need.
- You can buy frozen garlic cubes sold in the freezer of some stores. I like them because they’re pure garlic, I don’t care for the jarred version at all. It’s a game-changer in my house!
- Celery, onions, and carrots are now sold in the prepared department of most stores. It’s a little pricey, but saves time. It is sometimes called Mirepoix.
Ground Turkey or Beef - Either of these are a great substitution for the Italian sausage. Additionally, if you don't have ground Italian sausage, you could slice links into coins, brown them according to the recipe and proceed with the remaining steps.
Chicken Broth or vegetable broth, or stock can be used instead of the chicken stock.
Crushed Tomatoes can be used instead of diced tomatoes.
Want a little heat? Add some crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
Want to make the soup vegetarian? Just omit the Italian sausage and use vegetable broth or stock instead of the chicken stock.
Authentic Pasta Fagioli Recipe
- Large soup pot (approximately 4 quarts)
- Wooden spoon, or other large spoon
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 cup chopped onion fresh or frozen
- 2 stalks of celery diced or chopped (about a cup)
- 1 cup diced or chopped carrots can use matchstick
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 teaspoons chicken base or 2 bouillon cubes
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil crushed
- 2 Tablespoons dried Parsley crushed
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Bay leaf optional
- Parmesan rind optional
- 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup ditalini pasta
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 3-4 cups shredded greens Swiss chard, Kale, or Escarole (may also use 1 pkg frozen spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Shredded or shaved parmesan for garnish.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil and sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up any large pieces, until browned.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, making sure ingredients don't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Add garlic, sautḗ about 1 minute or until it becomes fragrant.
- Add chicken stock, water, base, seasonings, bay leaf and rind (if using).
- Bring to a boil, add pasta and beans. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered for approximately 12 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Stir frequently during the first few minutes, so pasta won’t stick to the bottom.
- Add greens, and simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Add pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and serve topped with shredded or shaved parmesan cheese. Buon Appetito!