What is Pasta e Fagioli Soup?
A hearty, traditional soup originating in Italy, Pasta e Fagioli means simply “pasta and beans.” There is no “official” recipe for Pasta e Fagioli which started as a peasant dish composed of inexpensive ingredients. Furthermore, in Italy the recipe varies from region to region in regard to the type of beans, type of pasta and seasonings used to make Pasta e Fagioli. This wonderful soup is also called “Pasta Fazool” by Americans, probably from the Neopolitan “pasta e fasule.”
Typically, the ingredients for this wonderful soup includes pasta, beans, garlic, onion, celery, sage, thyme, parsley, marjoram, tomatoes, ham or bacon. Since there is no “official” recipe, I like to make Pasta e Fagioli with a few other ingredients in addition to those in the traditional recipe. The following recipe uses a slow cooker to prepare Pasta e Fagioli but this recipe may also be cooked in a large soup pot on top of the stove.
Recipe for Pasta e Fagioli Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 2 whole carrots, shredded (1 cup)
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 (14.5-oz.) cans beef broth
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 (15-oz.) can red kidney beans
- 1 (15-oz.) can northern beans
- 1 cup ditalini pasta (or other small pasta), uncooked
- Add oil to a large skillet and brown the ground meat.
- Place the meat in a slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients except for the beans and pasta.
- Cook on low for 7 - 8 hours or high for 3 - 4 hours. Drain liquid from beans and add to the mixture.
- Stir in the pasta and cook for 30 minutes more to ensure the pasta is completely cooked.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Discard bay leaves before serving.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Use your particular favorite beans in this soup. Don't worry if you can't find ditalini - any small pasta will do or you can even break spaghetti into smaller pieces to use in this wonderful soup!
Some versions of Pasta e Fagioli are meatless and if this is your preference just leave the meat out and use vegetable broth instead of beef broth in the preparation.
When making soup I almost always shred the carrots because they cook faster this way.
I couldn’t find ditalini at my nearby grocery store so I substituted the smallest macaroni I could find in its place. There are some cooks that like to cook the pasta before adding it to the soup, but I like the way the pasta thickens the soup.
Don’t forget to take out the 2 bay leaves before serving the soup or someone may be surprised! Furthermore, shaved or grated Parmesan cheese is a delicious addition to this soup.
If you have leftover Pasta e Fagioli Soup the next day, you may wish to add one (15-oz.) can of diced tomatoes with their juice to thin it out just a bit as it thickens up overnight in the refrigerator!
Pasta e Fagioli Praised in Two Songs
Have you ever eaten a food that was so tasty, satisfying and hearty that you sang about it?
Pasta e Fagioli has the distinction of being included in the lyrics of two songs, one of which was written in 1929 by Van and Schenck, called “Pastafazoola!” The other song was “That’s Amoré” sung by Dean Martin. “When the stars make your drool just like pasta fazool – that’s amoré” is part of the lyrics. There’s another line about pizza, too! “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie – that’s amoré!” One more lyric – “when the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine – that’s amoré!”
I can relate to associating food with love because I tend to relate food with most things! 🙂 (Being a foodie and all!)
I hope you’ll make some Pasta e Fagioli soon and add the ingredients you like most to make it your own version! It’s a great winter soup!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
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