Soothing the Soul with Soup: Pasta e Fagioli

Entree, Pasta, Poultry, Soups | April 29, 2013 | By

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You might know it as something you can order a bottomless bowl of at the Olive Garden, but to me, Pasta e Fagioli (or pasta fazool as it’s said in my house) is better than chicken soup for the soul. Despite my Italian mother, I didn’t have this growing up, it’s something I fell in love with later in life.

Pasta e fagioli literally means “pasta and beans” and historically was one of those dishes that was eaten by the poor as it’s made up of pretty inexpensive ingredients – tomatoes, beans, pasta. Most of the time the soup includes cannellini beans, but can be made up of any bean, pasta and stewed tomatoes.


I think my love for this soup comes from the tomato base and the use of beans. The pasta adds a little “sumthin sumthin,” but I could honestly makes this without one little piece of macaroni and still love it. Of course, if you add hot italian sausage to just about anything, it’s a safe bet that I’ll love it. It’s hearty, it’s filling, it’s spicy, it’s warm, it’s heaven. And since it can be made in about 25 minutes – it’s perfect for my crazy house.

This soup is not a favorite of the weeone. I likely made the pasta e fagioli a bit too spicy on this particular night (you can tone down the heat by using sweet italian sausage or a combo of sweet and hot) and she opted to go make herself a pb&j. As long as *I* don’t have to make a second meal, it’s all good. It simply meant there were more leftovers for me for lunches that week!

“When the soup makes you drool, like a pasta fazool, that’s amore!”



Pasta e Fagioli
Nutritional Information
  • Serves: 6
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 325
  • Fat: 10.2g
  • Saturated fat: 2.9g
  • Unsaturated fat: 6.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.5g
  • Sodium: 740mg
  • Fiber: 4.8g
  • Protein: 20.5g
  • Cholesterol: 33mg
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A hearty and heart-warming combination of stewed tomatoes, cannellini beans and pasta can be just the thing to soothe the soul.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage
  • ½ cup finely diced white onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (16-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 cup uncooked small pasta (shell or elbow macaroni)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • 2½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained
  • Chopped Fresh parsley
  • Crushed red pepper (to taste)
Now What?
  1. In a soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, then add sausage, onions and garlic, cooking for 3-4 minutes or until the sausage is browned and the onions softened. Use a spatula end to crumble the sausage as it cooks.
  2. Add the water, chicken broth and tomato sauce to the sausage, onions and garlic and bring it to a boil.
  3. Add the pasta to the soup as well as ¼ cup of the cheese, the oregano, salt, pepper and beans.
  4. Cover the soup pot and reduce the heat to medium-low, simmering for 7-10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Do not overcook your pasta!
  5. Top each 1 cup serving with cheese, parsley and crushed red pepper to taste.desired.



  1. Ashley
    April 30, 2013

    This looks great! I’ve never made this soup with spicy sausage… what a great idea!

    • Terri
      April 30, 2013

      It is so good! I use spicy sausage in Italian wedding Soup as well.

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