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Pasta Fagioli

Written By Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole On November 16, 2011

pastafagioli4Meander down any burgeoning soup aisle and it’s plain to see that we can’t get enough of the slurpy stuff. With a nip in the air, and, oh, 30 minutes to spare, it’s easy to craft your own soup masterpiece. With pantry-friendly stocks, beans, dried pasta and leftover veggies, it’s conceivable to satisfy a soup craving completely on a whim.

Pasta fagioli, or, less romantically, pasta and beans, is a traditional Italian peasant dish. Unable to procure pricy cuts of meat to grace the table, earthy Italian divas relied on their gardens, inherent spice IQ and economical beans to create a robust meal in a bowl. And though the dish was once considered humble fare, it is now served in trendy Italian bistros (with trendy bistro pricing) across the land.

Grab a crusty loaf, toss a simple green salad and ask guests to bring the wine—in this case, a fruity Italian chianti. Mangia!

Pasta Fagioli


Serves 6 to 8

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
Coarse salt, cracked black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 cup dry white wine
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
14-ounce can cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
14-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup cooked elbow pasta
1 cup prepared spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
Fresh basil, to garnish

1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot.
2. Add onion, celery and carrots and sauté until fragrant and softened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add  garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add oregano, basil and fennel seed and stir to combine.
3. Pour in wine and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer; season again with salt and pepper, to taste. Add beans and stock and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta, spaghetti sauce and cheese; cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.
4. To serve, pass with grated cheese and basil.

Diva note: If soup becomes too thick, thin with extra stock.

Diva Confession: For entertaining (or just because you can), whip up a batch of basil walnut pesto to either drizzle atop soup or spread on bread. Combine 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup walnuts, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup Parmesan and salt, to taste, in a blender. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.



We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

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