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Authentic Pasta e Fagioli Soup

This traditional pasta e fagioli recipe (commonly referred to as pasta fazool) was passed down from a native Italian. Made with cannellini beans, pancetta, pasta, and rosemary, this soup is comfort food at its finest, and my family's favorite meal.

Pasta e fagioli in a white bowl with toasted bread and sprigs of rosemary

Related recipe: White Lasagna with Ground Chicken and Spinach

There are only a few meals that my whole family gets really excited about. I'm not talking about a lackluster "yum," but rather a jumping up and down, arms thrown around my waist, screaming "You're the best mom/wife EVER!" sort of excited.

Pasta e fagioli (which means "Pasta and beans" in Italian) is one of those dinners.

If you've had pasta e fagioli at the Olive Garden, you'll find that this recipe is quite a bit different. Sorry, Olive Garden lovers.

This traditional Italian pasta e fagioli recipe is not tomato based, nor does it contain carrots, celery or ground beef.

Related recipe: Italian Wedding Soup

Bowl of pasta e fagioli on a tray with rosemary and crusty bread

This pasta e fagioli has a combination of small pasta shells, cannellini beans, pancetta and rosemary, which gives it an earthy, smoky flavor that's to die for.

And it MUST be served with crusty bread, so that you can soak up every last drop of the thick, delicious broth.

Related recipe: Cheesy Pasta Bake

Pasta Fagioli ingredients include fresh rosemary, garlic, and small pasta shells

What makes this recipe a little different than others is that the bulk of the ingredients are pureed. This gives it an amazingly creamy texture (despite being dairy free).

When I first started making pasta e fagioli, I based it on a recipe from someone's Italian grandfather.

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Cheese grater with block of fresh parmesan cheese

Over the years I've pared it down to the essentials and learned to make pasta e fagioli as simply as possible without sacrificing any of the flavor.

Shortcuts & Substitutions:

  • If you own an immersion blender, you can save time by blending the soup right in the pot instead of transferring it to a blender.
  • Pasta substitution: Typically I use small shells in my pasta e fagioli, but you can substitute ditalini, macroni, small oriechiette, or any other type of small noodle.
  • You can substitute bacon for pancetta in pasta e fagioli. And if you want to make a vegetarian version of the soup, omit the pancetta and add a teaspoon or two of smoked paprika instead (it mimics the smoky flavor).
  • Dried rosemary can be used in place of fresh rosemary. Use 1 teaspoon dried.

Thickening/Thinning the Broth:

If you find that the soup is getting too thick as the pasta cooks, feel free to add a little more broth or water. It's supposed to be thick, but you want it to still be soupy.

Conversely, if it seems a little too watery, just let it sit on the stove (with the burner off) for a bit. The pasta will thicken it up over time.

Related recipe: Chicken Tortilla Soup

What to Serve with Pasta e Fagioli:

In case you missed it the first time, you must, MUST serve this soup with crusty bread. I'm not messing around about this.

It's also delicious paired with a simple balsamic vinaigrette salad or a caprese salad made with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella.

A glass of red wine is also highly recommended. :)

Related recipe: Rosemary & Garlic White Beans

Pasta e Fagioli with grated parmesan cheese melted on top

Authentic Pasta e Fagioli

This traditional recipe for Pasta e Fagioli (pasta fazool) is simple comfort food at its finest (and nutritious to boot).
4.71 from 259 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 548kcal
Author: Kate


  • 3 15 oz cans cannellini beans
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 4 oz pancetta or approx 4 slices bacon diced
  • 2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ¾ cups small pasta shells uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • parmesan cheese optional


  • Drain ONE can of beans, and set aside.
  • In a large soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and pancetta and saute until onions are golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and saute about 4 additional minutes.
  • Transfer sauteed ingredients to a blender or food processor and add the two other cans of beans (liquid included). Puree until smooth.
  • Add the pureed mixture back into the pot, along with the drained beans, the chicken and beef broth, salt, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, remove from heat.
  • Taste, and add more salt if necessary.
  • Serve, topped with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese, if you like.



If you're watching your salt, start with 1 teaspoon salt and work up from there.
You may find that the soup gets a little too thick as the pasta cooks. If so, just add some more broth or water to thin it out.


Calories: 548kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 2532mg | Potassium: 471mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 15.5mg | Calcium: 204mg | Iron: 7.5mg

If you make this recipe, please come back and tell me what you think. Hopefully your family will love it as much as mine does.

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Recipe Rating

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Sunday 22nd of October 2023

I followed the recipe exactly as is and it was perfect. No need for any adjustments. My husband and kids loved it and my very authentically Italian mom would approve!


Sunday 24th of September 2023

This recipe is perfect. I make it all fall and winter for my family and we gobble it up.

Susan Hill

Monday 7th of August 2023

Oh GOOD! My husband loved this and he hasn't loved very many recipes I've made lately. Followed this one pretty exactly. Had beef stock and nixed it with chicken broth. Found it was a bit too much olive oil, but drained that off with the bacon drippings before adding the beans. Can't go wrong with that great bacon flavor coming through! Thanks and will gladly make again! Quick too!

Adam Giovia

Saturday 29th of July 2023

This was perfect!! Honestly wouldn’t change one thing.


Friday 14th of July 2023

I make this recipe all the time. Even in the summertime when it is hot out. A few suggestions:

Use 1/2 bacon and 1/2 pancetta. The pancetta is more than twice as expensive as the bacon, this saves a little money. I find the result is better this way than if you use all bacon or all pancetta.

Use good quality beans. The best results I have gotten are with store brand organic beans. The cheapest store brand beans aren't quite as soft and, while they are acceptable they just aren't as good.

Use more garlic. I usually double the amount in this recipe.

Okay to substitute dry rosemary - I use 1-1/2 teaspoons, crushed with a mortar and pestle.

Cook the bacon/pancetta in the olive oil at medium low for a few minutes before adding the onions. Reason: You want to render every bit of fat. If you don't you run the risk of unrendered fat particles in the soup.

Use an immersion blender instead of putting ingredients in a blender. Add some of the broth to the mixture before pureeing; it seems to work better when there's extra liquid. Puree the living daylights out of the mixture to prevent the dreaded unrendered fat particles (see previous tip).

Throw in a parmesan rind after pureeing the beans. This isn't mandatory, but if you can it will make a difference.

Add water when reheating leftover soup - the pasta absorbs a lot of water. If the consistency was perfect the day you cooked it, it will be too thick when reheated.

Freeze the leftover - This recipe freezes well, which is good because the recipe makes a lot.


Saturday 26th of August 2023

@Rob, do you just add the rind to the soup while it’s cooking?

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