This easy Italian-inspired Pasta Fazool recipe pairs tender pasta, creamy white beans, and ground beef in a savory tomato-based broth. Also known as Pasta e Fagioli, this Italian “pasta and beans” soup is a one-pot, one-bowl meal dressed with salty cheese and fresh herbs for even more flavor!
The Best Pasta Fazool Recipe
This Pasta Fazool recipe is all about comfort. It’s a hearty Italian-inspired soup made with simple ingredients like pasta, beans, tomatoes, ground beef, and herbs. We like to grate Parmesan over the top of our bowls, then sprinkle with some fresh basil for even more flavor – it’s SO GOOD! This is Italian comfort food at its best, perfect for those chilly winter nights.
Why You’ll Love This Pasta e Fagioli
Also known as Pasta e Fagioli, this easy one-bowl meal is always at the top of my wintertime dinner list. Here’s why you’ll love pasta fazool:
- Simple ingredients. You don’t need anything fancy to make this soup. Every ingredient can easily be found at your local grocery store – or in your pantry.
- Flavorful. This soup is big on flavor, from the savory tomato-based broth, to the dried herbs and red pepper flakes, to the finishing touch of salty grated cheese.
- Hearty and cozy. Whenever you marry pasta, beans and ground beef, the combination promises to be a filling and satisfying meal. It’s definitely comfort food.
What Is Pasta Fazool?
Pasta fazool, known as Pasta e fagioli in Italian, is a hearty Italian soup with a savory tomato broth. Pasta e fagioli means “pasta and beans” in Italian, and this soup is, at its heart, a bean and pasta soup. The name “pasta fazool” most likely originated from the Italian-American New Yorkers’ pronunciation of the soup’s Neapolitan name, pasta e fasule.
Any pasta fazool recipe typically includes small pasta like ditalini and beans such as white beans or garbanzo beans. The preparation of pasta e fagioli varies depending on where it’s made in Italy, and is often based on what ingredients are available. You can make pasta fazool vegetarian – or add ground beef, lamb, Italian sausage, bacon, or pancetta for added flavor and heartiness.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this pasta fazool recipe.
Make sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredient amounts.
- Olive oil
- Onion – I like to use yellow onion.
- Garlic – This adds wonderful flavor, don’t skip it!
- Ground beef – You can also use ground lamb if you prefer.
- Salt & pepper
- Red pepper flakes – Adjust the amount depending on your taste. We like a little kick!
- Carrots and celery – Veggies add flavor, nutrients, and a bit of color to the soup base.
- Diced tomatoes – I use a can of diced tomatoes.
- Chicken broth – I recommend a low-sodium variety, so you can control the amount of salt. You could also use vegetable broth.
- Pasta – Choose a small to medium-size pasta for this soup, such as ditalini or elbow macaroni.
- Dried herbs – Dried oregano, basil, and marjoram are easy to incorporate and add a ton of flavor.
- Cannellini beans – This creamy white bean is great in soup. Substitute chickpeas (garbanzo beans) if you wish.
- Romano or Parmesan cheese – To garnish the soup.
- Fresh basil or parsley – For an optional garnish. I highly recommend the basil!
How to Make Pasta Fazool
I’ve detailed how to make pasta fazool below.
You’ll find the complete instructions in the recipe card lower down in this post.
- Cook the onion and garlic. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Cook the meat. Add the lean ground beef to the pot and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper. Break the beef apart with a spoon and cook until it’s browned and no longer pink.
- Add the veggies. Stir in the diced carrots and celery, and cook until soft. Then stir in the tomatoes, and let simmer.
- Boil. Add the chicken broth and bring the soup to a boil.
- Season. Stir the dried oregano, basil, and marjoram into the pot. Season with salt & black pepper to taste.
- Add the pasta. While still boiling, add the dried pasta and simmer (uncovered) until the pasta is al dente, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the beans. Stir the beans into the soup, and let them get warm.
- Serve. Ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with Parmesan and fresh basil and/or parsley.
Tips & Variations
I love this simple method for making pasta fazool. Here are a few tips and variations to help you make this soup, plus some more background on this Italian classic:
- Make it vegetarian. You’ll often see this soup without any meat. To make it vegetarian, simply substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and omit the meat. It’s still a hearty, delicious meal.
- Add or substitute other meat. While the vegetarian version is common, some recipes include meat, such as ground beef (like my recipe!), Italian sausage, lamb, bacon, or pancetta to add extra flavor and protein.
- Adjust the amount of liquid in your pasta fazool. This dish can vary in consistency from a thick, stew-like dish to a more soup-like consistency. The amount of liquid added can be adjusted to suit your personal preferences. If you like a more “soupy” soup, just add more broth or water.
- Try a different type of bean. In different parts of Italy and among Italian-American communities, you might find variations of pasta fazool that include different types of beans such as borlotti or kidney beans.
- Each region has its own take on pasta e fagioli. Italy’s various regions have their own versions of this dish, each with slight variations in ingredients and preparation methods. Each regional preparation often reflects the local ingredients and culinary traditions.
What to Serve with Pasta e Fagioli
Pasta e fagioli is a hearty meal on its own, but goes great with a side of fresh bread and butter. A fresh green salad would also be great. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Garlic bread. If you want something hot and cheesy to serve with pasta fazool, my cheesy homemade garlic bread is the perfect side to a bowl of soup!
- Popovers. Homemade popovers are always a great option with soup. My light and airy popovers or sourdough popovers recipes are amazing.
- Cornbread. For a lightly sweet, homey side dish, make cornbread. My easy honey-sweetened cornbread muffins are always a winner.
- Dinner rolls. Or try these soft Rhodes dinner rolls!
- Salad. Add a crunchy side salad like my arugula beet salad, Italian chopped salad, or juicy winter apple salad. These are family favorites.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
This soup makes great leftovers. Just know that the pasta will absorb more liquid the longer it sits, and will soften considerably over time. Here’s how to store and reheat any leftover pasta fazool:
- Fridge – Place leftover, cooled pasta fazool in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freezer – To freeze pasta e fagioli, you can place the cooled soup in a freezer-safe container or freezer-safe, sealable bag and store it in the fridge for up to 3 months. Thaw the soup in the fridge before eating it. Just know that the pasta will soak up the broth and become much softer.
- Reheating – Place pasta fazool in a pot over medium-low heat and heat it, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated through. You may wish to add some broth or water to loosen up the soup if it’s been sitting in the fridge.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
- Stuffed Shells with Meat
- Minestrone Soup
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
- Italian Turkey Tortellini Soup
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Italian Sausage Soup
- Shrimp and Pasta in Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce
- Ginger Chicken Soup
- Lasagna Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 5 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1½ teaspoons Morton kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less if you don't like heat)
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 8 ounces dry ditalini or elbow macaroni, uncooked
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- Salt & black pepper, to taste
- 1 can (7.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- Finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Fresh chopped basil or parsley for garnish, optional
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the lean ground beef to the pot. Season with 1½ teaspoons of the kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, and the red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice preference). Stir well. Break the beef apart with a spoon and cook until it's browned and no longer pink.
- Stir in the diced carrots and celery. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened.
- Add the can of diced tomatoes (including the juice) to the pot. Let simmer until the ingredients are better combined and the vegetables have softened slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken broth and bring the soup to a boil.
- Stir the dried oregano, basil, and marjoram into the pot. Season with salt & black pepper to taste.
- While still boiling, add the dried pasta and simmer (uncovered) until the pasta is al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Add the cannellini beans to the soup and allow them to heat through for a few minutes.
- Ladle the Pasta Fazool into individual bowls. Garnish each serving with finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese and, if desired, fresh chopped basil and/or parsley.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 502Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 784mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 36g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.