Pasta e Fagioli Recipe (or Pasta Fazool) is a peasant Italian bean stew that uses sausage, beans, vegetables and pasta in a thick tomato broth.
I first came across this recipe for Pasta e Fagioli when I ate at Olive Garden Restaurant many, many years ago. I was hooked. Since then, I’ve created my own version of the recipe for my family, who gobbles this soup up with no remorse.
Why? Perhaps because it offers a meaty-tomatoey broth that’s loaded with vegetables and pasta that’s unbelievably delicious.
So when I decided to share this recipe, I thought it might be nice to do a bit of investigating as to the origins of this dish first before going into the recipe details.
As it turns out, Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) started out as a peasant dish. Italian cooks would mix leftover pasta, meat, beans and vegetables together. It was their way to clean out the fridge, so to speak.
DID YOU KNOW? Does Pasta Fazool sound familiar? It should. If you remember Dean Martin‘s famous song: “That’s Amore” there’s a reference to this recipe: “When the stars make you drool, just like pasta fazool, that’s amore”. Source: Wikipedia
How to Make Pasta e Fagioli
Pasta e Fagioli isn’t a very complex recipe. In fact, it’s a glorified one-pot meal which whips together in no time at all.
The hard part is waiting for the soup to cook to doneness–approximately one hour’s time, and what you’re left with is a rich thick Italian chili that’s definitely family-friendly.
Which is why I love making this dish. You can assemble all of the ingredients together in one pot and cook it stovetop or in the oven. I’ve even made a super fast version using a pressure cooker as you can see below.
RELATED: Spicy White Chicken Chili
And, if you don’t have Italian sausage but only have ground beef or chuck on hand, use it. This recipe works well with chopped or ground meat. Just use the same amount of meat as mentioned in the recipe. (See below)
Also, don’t worry about which pasta to use either. The classic recipe uses ditalini pasta, but I’ve used penne, rotini, elbow noodles and even gone sans pasta if I’ve run out.
Finally, you can use cannellini beans, Great Northern beans, kidney beans or a mix of all of above. It’s totally up to you.
Here are some other variations you might like to try:
• Use packaged mixed vegetables. if you’re short on time and don’t want to mess around with chopping vegetables.
• Add a parmesan rind. If you’ve got a leftover parmesan rind throw this into the stew to cook alongside the other vegetables. This will give it a most rich and cheesy taste with no fuss or muss.
• Use more beans. If you want your soup to be more bean-based, go sans vegetables and focus on making the broth more flavorful with an additional bay leaf.
• Use pancetta. Want to add a more Italian touch? Start out by frying some pancetta with the base vegetables before adding any stock.
The truth is, anyway you make it, it’ll be delish! Enjoy!
For more delicious Italian favorite recipes, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Recipe Section.
Pasta e Fagioli – Pasta Fazool – Italian Bean Stew
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage (optional: 1 lb. ground chuck)
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 cup onions chopped finely
- 1 cup carrots chopped finely or julienned
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 26.46 oz Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves dried or fresh
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 15.5 oz cannellini beans with canned liquid (you can substitute with kidney or Great Northern beans)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup peas (optional)
- 1/2 cup corn (optional)
- 1 cup green beans (optional)
- 12 oz dried pasta cooked according to package instructions
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- grated parmesan cheese to garnish
- In an oven-proof stockpot, brown the ground sausage or ground chuck. Add olive oil and then add the vegetables in the order that they’re listed and cook each for a minute or so before adding the other.
- Next, add the tomatoes, chicken stock and spices. Stir well.
- If you want to add the other optional ingredients, you can do so now.
- Finally, add the cooked pasta. Stir well.
- Cook either on the stovetop or in a preheated 375 degree F oven for one hour.
- Remove from oven and stir well before ladling into bowls. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top before serving. Enjoy!