Pasta Fagioli Soup

I'd like to introduce you to my mom's famous (to our family) Pasta Fagioli soup. During the winter, my mom makes this soup like it's going out of style. Over the years, she's learned a few things while making this soup: always make a double batch & it's nice to add more pancetta. The double batch thing is important because she can pull some out of the freezer on a whim for my dad or she can be prepared for when my brother comes home from New York and raids her fridge (he inhales this soup, even when it's cold!).

For years I was reluctant to try this soup; I don't know why. I guess have weird issues with hot tomatoes and the thought having beans with pasta kinda weirded me. I dunno!

pasta fagioli soup

One day last year I was hanging out at my parents house and my mom convinced me to some.  Let me tell you I how dumb I felt for wasting many years of my eating career without this soup. It was AH-MAZING. I am a changed woman.

This is one of those recipes that instantly becomes a staple in your life. You'll go on auto pilot when you're grocery shopping and always buy the ingredients so you're never too far from a batch of this soup. Heck! You might even have some stocked in your freezer for a moment's notice like my mom.

It's hearty, comforting and pleases all the men in my life; I like that in a soup.

And we're off!

Gather your ingredients.

pasta fagioli soup

Heat olive oil in a pot. Add onions, pancetta & garlic.

pasta fagioli soup

Sweat those onions and then add fresh sage (KEY INGREDIENT!) and red pepper flakes.

pasta fagioli soup

Now it's time to add the tomatoes, salt & pepper and you stew it for a bit.

pasta fagioli soup

BEAN TIME! So my mom makes the beans from scratch. I cheated and used a can of beans.

It totally worked. It totally tasted awesome. It totally saved me A LOT OF TIME.

I totally might have burned the dried beans I intended to cook for this soup. I don't want to talk about it.

So the beans get added to the base along with your stock. This is the tail end of that process.

pasta fagioli soup

After simmering for awhile, you add in the pasta! It cooks and then your soup is ready!

pasta fagioli soup

But wait!  What do we have here? What time is it?

pasta fagioli soup


pasta fagioli soup

With the additions of freshly grated Parmesan cheese...

pasta fagioli soup

some fresh Italian parsley and a drizzle of top notch extra virgin olive oil....

pasta fagioli soup

We have the most spectacular pasta soup combo!



Love this.

Store it in your freezer.

Stock your shelves.

Always buy pancetta when you're grocery shopping.

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Serves 6

(recipe Adapted from Beans & Rice Cookbook By Williams Sonoma)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz. pancetta (or bacon), minced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (15oz. canned)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups (32oz.) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dried pasta (medium shells or elbow macaroni)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped (for garnish)

In a soup pot over medium low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta or bacon, onion and garlic and saute slowly, stirring until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sage, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the beans and stock and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Add the pasta to the soup and simmer until the pasta is tender, 12-15 minutes.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with the cheese and a few cut fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

(This recipe is not doubled.)

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  • December 13, 2011

    What editing software do you use to add your text? I must know.

  • December 13, 2011

    I love pasta, I love parmasen cheese and I love beans so I am giving this one a try!

  • December 13, 2011

    This sounds freaking awesome!

  • December 13, 2011

    this soup looks like a dream right now. at 5:52am. and i'll take seconds!

  • Really, what could be better than pasta and soup combined into one awesome dish. I can't wait to make this! And I agree with your mom - always add more pancetta!

  • December 13, 2011

    This looks a-mazing. I'm not always a soup fan, but I could get behind this one!

  • December 13, 2011

    Mmmm. I think I'll have to make this later in the week!

  • jenny
    December 13, 2011

    totally making this next weekend. I can already imagine the amazing taste...

  • December 13, 2011

    Yes, I needed a new soup. Going out in the rain to get the ingredients!

  • December 13, 2011

    Mmm. It's definitely a soup night, and definitely going to include white beans, pasta and tomatoes.

  • December 13, 2011

    this looks so good! I love fresh sage, I think it gets overlooked outside of Thanksgiving.

    I've totally burned beans before. It's really upsetting...I feel for you.

  • Patty
    December 13, 2011

    Thanks! Now I have dinner tonight!

  • December 13, 2011

    Oh yeah! This looks fantastic. Mmmmm....pancetta.

  • December 13, 2011

    My mom is the person responsible for making pasta fagioli too. Except hers is always more of a stew consistency than a soup. I think she might also use sausage. It has been awhile since she's made it. I do have a big batch of white beans that need to get used up. I may have just found dinner for tonight!

  • December 13, 2011

    i looove soup in the winter time. i could eat it every.single.night. i'm so excited to have a new recipe to add to my rotation as this looks beyond amazing! yummm!

  • christina
    December 13, 2011

    You've convinced me to try making this! I've seen recipes for pasta fagioli, but I was also weirded out about beans and pasta together :P

  • December 13, 2011

    Yum. I don't love winter, but I do love it for soup like this!

  • December 13, 2011

    I can't even tell you how good this looks right now!! It's so cold in my house and this would warm it right up!

  • kim
    December 13, 2011

    this looks so good! do you think it would be ok if i omitted the pancetta (vegetarian)?

  • December 13, 2011

    What could possibly be weird about beans and pasta?! Well, at least you realized the error of your ways haha. Looks delicious!

  • December 13, 2011

    Will give this a try...always looking for soups this time of year! Looks amazing :)

  • December 13, 2011

    this looks really really good. I can envision adding kale to it if I was feeling extra healthy. Or extra-extra pancetta if I was not.

  • December 13, 2011

    This is one of my favorite soups ever, but I don't think I've ever had it with pancetta! That must make it over the top delicious!

  • December 13, 2011

    Oh man.. I just may have found dinner for tomorrow night...

  • December 13, 2011

    What a delicious looking recipe. Kinda want to take a bite out of my screen.

  • December 13, 2011

    Oh, I love having recipes like that around! It looks fantastic, and I can bear the bean and pasta combo - love it! I sort of wish I could have some right this second!

    • frank
      February 5, 2013

      next time try a can of anchives & capers to your oil
      an cook till they disapeare an add a box of chciken broth an black olives
      pour over angel hair pasta

  • Suz
    December 13, 2011

    I don't like soup, but this looks like a recipe that might change that. Bummer that we're heading into Summer here in New Zealand. Shall save the recipe for next winter!

    • December 13, 2011

      Snap! Totally what I was thinking.

    • December 15, 2011

      I'm in New Zealand too and was just thinking what a shame it is that it's starting to get warm! This recipe will either have to wait until winter or I'll just wait for a rainy Auckland day and go to town ;-)

  • December 13, 2011

    I love that I'm seeing all these delicious winter recipes on the US blogs I read, I'm going to be so prepared when winter rolls around over here!

  • Liz
    December 14, 2011

    I made this last night. It just looked so good to me that I had to have my husband stop at the store to get the ingredients. I used bacon instead of pancetta and white northern beans. I also added a bit of sugar to it just to tone down the acid a bit. Wow! Me, my husband and my three year old ate almost all of it last night. There was enough leftover for one bowl today. Seriously, thank you for sharing! I am already thinking about when I can make it again. I think that next time I will cook the bacon and then remove it from the pan and cook the onions in the fat. Then I will crumble the bacon on top when I add the parmesan cheese before serving. I just wasn't crazy about what the bacon did after the liquid was added. It got kind of stringy and weird colored. Other than that, this was the best soup! Thanks again!

  • December 14, 2011

    That does look like a great soup. I probably would have waited for years to try it too, but my mom never made much besides meatloaf - ha!

    Hey - I need your fancy fonts - did you buy a font package or what? Mine are all lame...

  • December 14, 2011

    i'd like to come over and eat soup with you!

  • Steffi
    December 15, 2011

    I made this last night!! We don't have anymore leftovers :(((((( IT WAS SO YUMMY! Thanks for posting this!! :D

  • Stacy
    December 15, 2011

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I made this soup for dinner tonight and it was delish! It is going to go into my dinner rotation. Keep 'em coming!

  • December 15, 2011

    mmm this looks so good! there are few things more comforting than soup

  • December 19, 2011

    Pasta fagioli is one of my favorites! I've never thought of adding sage, but it's definitely going into the next batch I make. One of my favorite tricks to thicken the soup up a bit is to mash a small amount of the beans before stirring them into the pot. Adds extra bean-y flavor!

  • December 29, 2011

    I made this the other night, it was soooo good. I honestly couldn't stop eating it!

  • Carre
    December 30, 2011

    This is the second time in 1 week that I've made this soup! It's sooooo good! My husband isn't a soup lover but he went back for seconds!

  • Lizzie
    January 3, 2012

    I love this soup! I used leek instead of onion because I had them in the house and boy it was good! You're right, sage is key. I'm considering getting a bigger pot so I can make a double batch. This batch is not going to last! Perfect for a driech winter day in Scotland.

    • January 3, 2012

      Wow! Leek sounds like a good addition. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • January 29, 2012

    This sounds a lot like our family recipe. I won't make it unless I have time to make the homemade pasta to go in it. A sure way to warm you up on a cold Chicago day.

  • Thane
    February 9, 2012

    Did this tonight for the second time this week. Excellent recipe. I also added a few fresh chopped basil leaves, which works nicely, as well as a finely minced carrot. And for the pasta, I used the baby shells, or conchigliette, which wind up being just about the same size as the beans. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • February 10, 2012

      love the basil addition! Thanks for trying it out, Thane.

  • Michelle Z
    February 27, 2012

    Totally made this last night and should have doubled it. All my kids gobbled it up with hubby making mmmmmm noises. Thanks!

  • Dasha
    March 10, 2012

    I just made your soup for the second time. This time, I was smart enough to double it! Thank you for one of my favorite recipes. (By the way, I added some chopped kale this time and it was really good that way)

  • Marilyn
    May 30, 2012

    Im making it right now! about to add in the pasta I tasted it soooo good !! I been craving this soup great recipe! thanks so much for sharing ;)

  • Carrie
    October 4, 2012

    Can you set this up so we can pin it on Pinterest? (I'm gonna feel really dumb if it already is and I just can't figure it out.)

    • Tracy
      October 4, 2012

      hi! look right above the comment section. you should see an asterisk * next to it says SHARE. You should be able to pin from there. ALSO! Add the PIN IT to your browser's bar. It makes it so easy.

  • October 18, 2012

    Oh my goodness. This soup is so. freakin. good.

    I made a double recipe of it earlier this week for just myself and it's already almost gone! I thought I was going to have to freeze some, but I've basically just been binge eating soup instead.

    Thanks for posting such a delicious recipe. I shared it on my blog and linked back to ya!

  • JD
    December 8, 2012

    Gurl... This looks DELICIOSO! I'm definetely making this before christmas. And stocking it in my freezer. :D

  • “Pasta Fagioli Soup - Shutterbean” was indeed a
    fantastic post, cannot help but wait to read through even more of your blogs.
    Time to spend some time on the internet hehe. Thanks for your
    time -Amado

  • Elaine
    March 9, 2013

    Tonight I am making this for the second time. Using fresh grated parmesan at serving time just makes it all the more delicious!!

  • Stephanie.
    April 6, 2013

    Hello from England :)
    Made this for Lunch today and it was amazing!
    My boyfriend and I may have finished it all off, oops!

  • October 5, 2013

    This looks so good - I think it's going to quickly become a new winter staple!!! And I bet it's delicious the next day for packed lunch hehe :)

  • Grace
    October 7, 2013

    I made this soup twice in the past 2 weeks and I am completely obsessed with it. Honestly, I want to eat it every day! I passed the recipe on to my sister, who declared it the best soup she's ever had! Your blog is amazing.

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