Pasta Fagioli is a classic Italian soup that’s perfect for getting into the autumn spirit! Tender white beans, wholesome pasta, a medley of fragrant diced veggies, and a flavorful tomato broth make this delicious soup a definite keeper.
Hearty Bean Soup with Sausage and Pasta
It’s soup weather, you guys! Or at least it’s getting there, you know? I love this time of year, when we can all start to look forward to getting our hygge on and pulling out the sweaters, scarves, and of course, the soup recipes!
If you’re a fan of minestrone, you’ll love Pasta Fagioli. That’s Italian for pasta and beans, although if you live in the U.S., you might have heard it pronounced “pasta fazool.” That’s because in Napoli, the name is “pasta e fasule.” Just a little trivia for ya, there.
Anyway, whatever you call it and however you pronounce it, this one’s gonna be your new fave! It’s a hearty peasant food that combines wholesome white beans with small pasta, and the classic trinity of carrots, celery, and onion.
So what’s in this soup? The basics include beans, pasta, and veggies. I also like to put Italian sausage in mine for extra flavor and a bit of hearty protein. However, you could use a ham bone, some smoked diced bacon, or just leave out the sausage and make a vegetarian version.
- Olive Oil: You’ll need two tablespoons of olive oil, divided, for sauteing.
- Sausage: Both spicy and sweet Italian sausage work in this recipe! Get bulk sausage, or buy links and remove the meat from the casings.
- Onion: A small onion, finely chopped, gives this recipe sweet and savory veggie flavor.
- Celery: Thinly slice up some celery to add to the veggies.
- Carrots: Dice up some carrots, or use carrot slices or matchsticks.
- Garlic: I like to use four cloves of fresh garlic, minced, but you can also substitute about a teaspoon and a half of garlic powder.
- Tomato Paste: One of the secret ingredients to a flavorful soup! Tomato paste packs a lot of savory veggie goodness into a small space. I use two tablespoons.
- Salt and Pepper
- Beans: You’ll need two 15 ounce cans of great northern beans, drained and rinsed.
- Tomatoes: To build on the tomato-veggie base of the soup, add a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes.
- Tomato Sauce: You can use a regular 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, or substitute strained tomatoes or even marinara.
- Broth: I typically use low sodium chicken broth in this soup, but you can substitute vegetable broth or even water if necessary. You’ll need about 6 to 8 cups.
- Sugar: A couple of teaspoons of sugar brings out the flavor of the sausage, onion, and beans.
- Herbs: This soup is great with Italian seasonings, or you can make your own seasoning mix like I do! I use 1 teaspoon each of dried crushed rosemary, dried basil, dried oregano, and dried thyme.
- Pasta: The usual pasta I use in Pasta Fagioli is small ring pasta or ditalini, but any small pasta shapes will work.
- Parmesan and Parsley: To garnish this hearty soup, I like to sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan and fresh, chopped parsley over each serving.
Can I make Pasta Fagioli with dried beans?
Yes, you can! In fact, some cooks believe that the best pasta fagioli is made with dried beans. Here’s how you do it:
- Rinse and pick over half a pound of dried great northern beans, and soak them overnight (a minimum of 8 hours) before using.
- When it’s time to cook, drain the beans and rinse. Proceed with the recipe as written.
- Note: It will take a bit longer for the soaked beans to become tender, and you may need to add a little water if they absorb too much. Plan on cooking the dried beans between 20 and 30 minutes at a minimum.
How to Make Pasta Fagioli
Making this soup is really easy! And, thanks to the canned beans, it cooks up fast, but tastes like you simmered it all day.
- Cook the Sausage. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven, or a large deep pot, set over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into crumbles. It should take about 5 minutes to cook through. Then transfer the cooked sausage to a plate, and set it aside.
- Cook the Aromatics and Tomato Paste. Next, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same pot that you cooked the sausage in. Stir in the onions, celery, and carrots; cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pot, and cook for 20 seconds, or until it’s fragrant and beginning to be translucent. Stir in the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add Remaining Ingredients. Add in the drained, rinsed beans, the diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce, and the broth. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the sugar, rosemary, herbs, and the previously cooked sausage. Increase the heat, and bring the soup to a boil. Once it’s boiling, stir in the pasta and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 8 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.
- Finish and Serve. Finally, taste the finished soup for salt and pepper, and adjust accordingly. Remove from the heat. Ladle the soup bowls, and garnish with freshly grated parmesan and parsley.
Tips for Success
Making this soup is as easy as can be, but I still have a couple of handy tips to share! Read on for my best “hacks” when it comes to making pasta fagioli.
- Blender Trick: If you want a thicker, creamier base to your soup, you can simply remove a cup or so of the soup and blend it up in a blender (be very careful and cool the soup first). Stir the blended soup back into the pot.
- Parmesan: If you have any Parmesan rind on hand, toss some into the simmering soup for extra flavor! This is a great trick that works with a lot of soups!
- Add Veggies: Feel free to toss leftover spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, or other veggies into your pasta fagioli for extra nutrition, and to avoid wasting leftovers.
I like to have a couple of tasty sides with this hearty pasta fagioli, like bread and a veggie or salad. Here are some recipes to give you inspo for your own menu!
- Bread: A crusty slice of artisan bread goes wonderfully with pasta e fagioli, but if you want a quicker option, try making these easy Air Fryer Red Lobster Biscuits! With just a handful of ingredients, they bake up beautifully in the air fryer (or your regular oven).
- Zucchini: This versatile veg goes with just about everything, and adds an extra helping of non-starchy vegetables to your pasta e fagioli. For a refreshingly crisp serving idea, try my recipe for Crispy Air Fryer Parmesan Zucchini Fries!
- Caprese Salad: Cool, colorful, and nutritious, caprese salad is my go-to when I need the perfect side dish. Want to up the ante? This Creamy Caprese Stuffed Avocado recipe will do the trick!
How to Store and Reheat Soup Leftovers
- To store leftover soup, place into airtight containers and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.
- To reheat, place the desired portion in a saucepan (add water if it seems too thick), and heat on medium-low until the soup is hot, stirring occasionally.
Can I Freeze Pasta Fagioli?
- Yes, pasta fagioli freezes well. Just pack the cooled soup into freezer containers, leaving a small amount of room for the liquid to expand as it freezes.
- I recommend freezing in individual portions for convenience.
- Freeze for up to three months.
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Pasta Fagioli Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound spicy or sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
- 6 to 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1-½ cups ditalini pasta, or any other small shaped pasta
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
- Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large deep pot set over medium heat.
- Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon; cook for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Transfer cooked sausage to a plate and set aside.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same pot.
- Stir in the onions, celery, and carrots; cook for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 20 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato paste.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add in beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken broth.
- Stir in the sugar, rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, and previously cooked sausage; increase heat and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, stir in the pasta and reduce heat to medium.
- Cook for 8 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.
- Taste soup for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
- Remove from heat.
- Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with freshly grated parmesan and parsley.