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Grandma’s Traditional Italian Pasta Fagioli Recipe

Pasta e fagioli, or pasta and beans soup, is one of the classic comfort foods of Italian cuisine.

Made with humble ingredients like borlotti or cannellini beans, onions, carrots, celery, pasta, and broth, pasta fagioli is rich in flavor and nutrition.

pasta e fagioli classic italian soup


Nothing quite beats a pot of Italian pasta and fagioli soup (aka pasta fazool for many Italian Americans) for a cozy, warming meal on a cold winter night.

This classic bean and pasta soup is like a hug in a bowl—it’s inexpensive to make and comes together quickly with essential ingredients.

Here is my authentic recipe passed down for generations in my Italian family.

Ingredients For the traditional pasta e fagioli recipe

Beans: The star of the show.

Borlotti or Cannellini beans are the traditional choice, but you can also use red kidney beans or white beans.

I used canned ones for this recipe, but you can use fresh ones, which will be soaked the night before.

Let them rehydrate in water with baking soda and cook for about one hour the next day.

Pasta:  Choose a small pasta shape like ditalini pasta, elbow macaroni, or small shells.

The pasta will be cooked in the soup, in this way, the starch released by the pasta binds to the legumes that will slowly break down, resulting in the classic creamy, enveloping, incredibly tasty pasta e fagioli!

Vegetables: The classic Italian soffritto, onions, carrots and celery.

Also very commonly used is garlic clove to add flavor, but my family never added it.

Spices: I prepare this recipe as my mom makes it: salt, black pepper, and basil.

Other spices that go well with this pasta are fresh rosemary, which gives a delicious flavor, and red pepper flakes if you love a spicy touch.

Tomato sauce: I added a small amount of tomato puree (passata) to add flavor and color to the broth.

Although many people prefer to make pasta e fagioli without tomato, you can also use tomato paste as an alternative.

Broth: Vegetable or chicken broth forms the soup base, providing a rich and savory flavor.

Homemade broth is ideal, but store-bought works well too.

I use my homemade vegetable bouillon to make veggie broth. 

How to make Authentic Italian Pasta e Fagioli Recipe

Step 1

Prepare the soffritto. Finely chop carrot, celery, and onion.

soffritto for pasta e fagioli

If you’re using canned beans, wash them thoroughly under running water.

But if you opt for dried beans, it’s best to soak them overnight in cold water with a dash of bicarbonate (baking soda).

The next day, cook them for at least one hour before using them for the soup.

beans drained and washed under running water

Step 2

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add the soffritto. Cook it over medium-low heat until wilted.

Once the soffritto is well cooked, add the borlotti beans, tomato puree, and 4 cups of broth.

Allow the mixture to simmer for around 10 minutes over medium heat. 

Optionally, lightly blend everything with an immersion blender to make a more creamy bean soup. 

Add black pepper and salt if needed.

immersion blenderthe soup

Step 3

Add the pasta to the beans and follow the cooking times in the pasta package.

Make sure to refer to the cooking times mentioned on the pasta package to ensure the pasta is perfect.

To prevent the pasta from sticking, stir frequently with a wooden spoon.

Additionally, if you feel is too dry, don’t hesitate to add more broth.

add pasta to the soup

Step 4

When the pasta is cooked al dente, you can serve this classic Italian soup with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese or pecorino.

authentic pasta fagioli recipe

Tips for Making Pasta Fagioli:

  • Never salt legumes at the beginning of cooking, but only at the end: this will keep the skin intact and tender.
  • If you are not eating the soup immediately, do not add the pasta because it will swell and eventually become mushy and soft. 
  • If you have parmesan rind, add it while cooking; it will make your sauce even more delicious.

What to serve with Pasta e Fagioli Soup

This soup is naturally filling and flavorful to be a satisfying one-bowl meal. 

But if you’d like sides, try crusty bread or garlic bread to soak up every drop of broth or a simple green salad. I often serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches for the perfect meal.

In the winter, I also LOVE to serve the soup with polenta or creamy risotto for added warmth.

A glass of Chianti or Pinot Grigio makes an excellent beverage pairing.

Storing and Reheating

If you have leftovers or want to prepare the soup in advance, here’s how to store and reheat it:

Store: You can store your pasta and beans in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 day – the pasta will lose its al dente characteristic and inevitably turn out softer.

Freezing: I do not recommend freezing your pasta and beans.

You can freeze the bean soup without pasta and add it when you want to eat it. Freeze for 2-3 months.

Reheating: Add a broth or water splash to adjust the consistency, stir over low heat, and the sauce will immediately come to life.

Variations of pasta fagioli soup

While the classic version is simple and delicious, feel free to get creative with pasta and fagioli.

Try adding:

  • Pasta e Fagioli Vegetarian – use homemade vegetable bouillon and vegetarian cheese.
  • Kale, chard, or spinach – add them when you add the pasta.
  • Italian sausage or pancetta – cook them with the soffritto.
  • Red bell peppers – add slices or strips for color and sweetness.
  • Basil pesto – swirl a spoonful into each bowl.
  • Shiitake mushrooms – rehydrate dried shiitakes and dice into soup.

More Italian soup recipes you’ll love: escarole and beans soup is a tasty, hearty option for a veggie lover.

Italian Pasta e Fagioli Recipe


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Yield: 4 portions

Traditional Italian Pasta Fagioli Recipe

authentic pasta fagioli recipe

This authentic pasta fagioli recipe is the perfect combination of comforting, delicious flavors. With a savory blend of vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans, and pasta, this family favorite is sure to be a hit with everyone at the dinner table.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 stick of Celery
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 3 Basil leaves
  • 15 oz Beans (400g) (I use borlotti beans)
  • 3-1/2 oz Tomato pulp
  • 4 cup Broth (vegetable, chicken, meat)
  • 5 oz short Pasta
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


      1. If using dried beans, soak them overnight in cold water with a dash of baking soda. Cook for at least two hours before using them for the soup. If using canned beans, wash them thoroughly under running water.
      1. Finely chop the carrot, celery, and onion.
      2. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped vegetables (soffritto) and cook over medium-low heat until wilted.
      3. Once the soffritto is well cooked, add the beans, tomato puree, and broth. Allow the mixture to simmer for around 20 minutes over medium heat.
      4. Optionally, blend with an immersion blender to make a creamier soup. Add salt and black pepper if needed.
      5. Add the pasta to the soup and follow the cooking times mentioned on the pasta package to ensure the pasta is perfectly cooked. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent the pasta from sticking.
      6. If it is too dry, add more broth to achieve the desired consistency.
      7. Serve piping hot with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 870mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 6gSugar: 14gProtein: 14g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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What is pasta e fagioli soup?

Pasta e Fagioli soup, also known as Pasta Fagioli or pasta fasul, is a traditional Italian soup that translates to “pasta and beans” in English.

It is a hearty and comforting dish with beans, pasta, vegetables, broth, and tomato sauce.

Can you use canned beans?

Yes, you can substitute canned beans if you need more time. Just remember to rinse them thoroughly before using them.

What’s the difference between Italian Minestrone Soup and Pasta e Fagioli Soup?

Both are traditional Italian soups. However, while pasta e fagioli focuses on these core ingredients, minestrone is known for its variety of vegetables, which can vary depending on the season and personal preference.

In fact, every Italian household has its own unique recipe for this delicious soup, and there are no strict rules or traditional recipes to follow.

Can I make this pasta and beans in advance?

Yes and no! I recommend preparing the soup in advance but without adding the pasta. 

Is pasta fagioli vegan?

It depends on the ingredients you’re going to use. Use vegetable broth and vegan cheese for a vegan version.

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Michael DeMatteis

Saturday 14th of October 2023

It would be great if you mentioned the number of people your recipe instruction serve so it can be adjusted to accomodate the number of anticipated guests. Did I miss it? I couldn't seem to find it!


Sunday 15th of October 2023

Hello Michael, the recipe is for 4 people, is written in the recipe card.


Friday 21st of April 2023


Healing Tomato

Monday 13th of March 2023

I have always wondered how to make Pasta fagioli at home. It's turned out so easy to make. I used vegetable broth in it and everyone enjoyed it so much. Now, I am putting it on my regular rotation.

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