This Quick Pasta e Fagioli Soup Recipe is a Hug in a Bowl
Pasta and Beans, as it's called in English, is quintessential comfort food. Yummly's new take on the classic is especially easy to prepare, so if you’ve got a hankering for a warm bowl, your pantry probably has everything you need.
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My family traveled out of state to visit my in-laws in January 2020. The trip was fast and furious, the four of us making the rounds to see all the extended family and friends we could during our short stay. With so much to pack in, we didn’t check off everything on our to-do list while in town: My mother-in-law had told my then-8-year-old daughter she’d take her out to Olive Garden for soup, salad, and breadsticks, but there didn’t end up being enough time. “Next time,” she assured my daughter. Little did anyone know, two years would pass before they could have that promised lunch date.
During the time in between, we made do. I cooked a lot, more than I ever thought I would, even as a recipe developer. And then I got really tired of cooking. And I really missed restaurant food.
This Quick Pasta e Fagioli soup recipe — pasta and beans, that is — is the perfect meal to fill that hole. It’s a bowl full of easy, cozy comfort food, reminiscent of the casual restaurant lunches my mother-in-law loved treating us to. Fortunately, it’s hardly complicated restaurant cooking; it’s comprised almost entirely of pantry staples, making it an easy go-to when your cupboard is bare, or you’re just plain tired.
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What is pasta e fagioli and what's unique about this version? >>
Why you should make this right now >>
The quick steps to making Quick Pasta e Fagioli >>
Get the recipe: Quick Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans) >>
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What is pasta e fagioli and what's unique about this version?
Pasta e fagioli is translated as “pasta and beans.” It’s also sometimes known as “pasta fazool” in Italian-American circles. It’s a substantial soup chock full of pasta, beans, and vegetables. It sticks to your ribs and warms you up when it’s cold, nourishing you from the inside out. This easy version comes together in about 40 minutes. It relies on canned beans and tomatoes to keep it quick-cooking, leaning on a bit of bacon and fresh herbs for depth of flavor.
Why you should make this right now
Quick soups are such lifesavers for busy families. This Quick Pasta e Fagioli recipe is the ideal quick soup for a family that’s working through a chaotic schedule outside the house, or stuck inside due to wintry weather or other circumstances. The soup comes together with whatever you’ve got on hand, in one pot, and is an easy way to get extra vegetables into kids. Leftovers are the perfect lunch. Warm up a bowl between working meetings, or pack it in a thermos for lunchtime in the cafeteria.
Let’s talk ingredients
The only real requirements for this Quick Pasta e Fagioli soup are pasta and beans, and even those are flexible. Any small shape of pasta will do, such as elbow macaroni or ditalini pasta, or even a mini farfalle or penne. Alphabet noodles, while hardly traditional, are an especially fun addition with kids.
Dried cranberry beans are traditionally used for pasta e fagioli. Cooking dried beans directly in the soup allows them to release their starch into the stock, naturally thickening the broth. This Quick Pasta e Fagioli uses canned cannellini beans instead. Mashing some of the white beans directly in the pot mimics the starch from the dried beans, giving you a hearty soup in a fraction of the time.
Mashing the beans for Pasta e Fagioli; photograph by Meleyna Nomura
The quick steps to making Quick Pasta e Fagioli
Saute a diced slice of bacon in a large pot or Dutch oven to render out the fat and crisp the bacon. While the bacon cooks, chop a yellow onion, carrot, celery, and five cloves of garlic. Add the veggies to the pot with the bacon, season with salt and black pepper, and cook until translucent. Add a can of diced tomatoes, vegetable broth or chicken stock, and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Bring to a simmer.
Rinsing the beans for Pasta e Fagioli; photograph by Meleyna Nomura
While the soup comes to a simmer, drain and rinse a can of cannellini beans. Add the drained beans and 1 1/2 cups of small pasta to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the pasta is al dente, 10-12 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Use a potato masher to mash half of the beans directly in the pot, creating a thicker texture. Stir in additional stock if a brothier consistency is desired.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh basil, a sprinkle of grated pecorino romano or Parmesan cheese, and crusty bread.
Storing your leftovers
Quick Pasta e Fagioli stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. The pasta will continue to absorb the broth while it sits, so it may need to be thinned out upon reheating.
Alternatively, cook the pasta in a different pot from the soup and store it separately. Add the pasta to individual bowls when ready to serve. Don’t forget to garnish with fresh basil and a sprinkle of cheese to reawaken the flavors.
Get the recipe: Quick Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)
We've got soup recipes to keep you cozy every day of the week. Check out the recipes in the Yummly articles below.