Pasta e Fagioli Italian Soup

pasta e fagioli italian soup | Read Cook Devour

Doesn’t the Italian language make “Pasta and Beans” sound like a ballet? What began as a humble peasant dish has made its way onto many restaurant menus. It’s simple comfort food that tastes like it was made by an Italian grandmother.

This recipe includes one of my favorite flavor hacks, which basically means a genius and simple way to add lots of delicious flavor to something.

A parmesan rind.

If you buy a hunk or wedge of parmesan it always has about a 1/2 inch of rind on it that you can’t really grate. But instead of discarding it, I save those little nuggets of gold in a ziplock bag in my freezer. They are the most wonderful addition of flavor to any soup or homemade stock. All the deep parmesan flavor goes into the soup and the gooey melted rind just gets discarded at the end.

Soup is synonymous with fall and all the warm, cozy feelings we crave.

I keep thinking of that quote from Anne of Green Gables,

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”

Relish what’s left of this singular month and maybe while you are stirring your Fagioli you will enjoy this lovely audiobook of Anne of Green Gables I stumbled upon.

Pasta e Fagioli

This soup is even better the next day, so if you are a make-ahead kind of gal, this is perfect! Just cook the noodles the day you plan to eat it.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 stalks celery, plus leaves from the center chopped
  • 1 large carrot (or 11 baby carrots) diced
  • 1 pound ground beef (80% or 90% lean)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or one sprig, fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (toddlers? you may want to reduce to just a pinch)
  • 1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (32 oz)
  • 1 Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 1 14.5 oz can great northern beans (cannellini is fine too) drained and rinsed
  • 1 14.5 oz can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta
  • Parmesan for sprinkling


  1. Chop the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add chopped vegetables and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). 

  2. Add ground beef, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary, and red pepper flakes and stir to break up. Brown beef but do not overcook. 

  3. Stir in tomatoes, broth, parmesan rind and both cans of beans. Cover and bring to a simmer and cook on low for 20 minutes. Taste the soup to make sure carrots and celery are soft (if not cook an additional 10 minutes). Also, this is the time to add more salt if needed. If you are on the fence about if it needs more salt, add just a pinch, because the pasta you are adding next will need it.

  4. Stir in the ditalini*. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Remove from the heat. Fish out the parmesan rind and discard. Serve the Pasta e Fagioli with  grated Parmesan. 

Recipe Notes

*Do not add the noodles until you are quite ready to eat. The longer they sit in the soup, the mushier and more bloated they become.

If you want to freeze this, I recommend cooking and freezing the ditalini separately.

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Pasta e Fagioli Italian Soup | Read Cook Devour
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  1. so when does your cookbook come out? i’m a fan. off pasta this month so will zoodle a portion for me (not mark’s fav so he’ll get the real stuff!) #metabolism #unfair

  2. This looks seriously delicious!! One of our favorites but I haven’t found my go-to recipe before now! Hoping this will be it 😉

  3. This looks so cozy-good!! I’m definitely going to try this in November!! And also, thanks for the freezing tip! I can’t wait to make a big batch and prep for my maternity leave!

    1. Actually, yes Dani! I think this would work well in the crockpot. Were you thinking of browning the beef before adding it? That is probably best. Then I would just add the noodles when I get home, during the last 15 minutes. I would caution you to keep it on low and even set it to turn off after 2 or 3 hours (if you have one of those fancy timer crock pots) so that the vegetables don’t OVERCOOK and turn to mush. Let me know how it goes!

  4. This soup is awesome!! Definitely adding to the repertoire. I had ground Italian sausage so I used that instead of beef and it was delicious. Husband was happy and my son enjoyed the pasta that he thought was Cheerios.

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