Pasta e Fagioli is a classic Italian soup made with pasta and beans. My recipe uses the traditional recipe as a baseline for a heartier and, let’s face it, Americanized version.
Since this is a dish originating as peasant food, it is known for its simplicity. A traditional batch of pasta a fagioli would use salt pork and dried beans–and usually only white beans, not kidney. It typically lends itself toward broth-based and not as tomato-heavy as my recipe, and wouldn’t necessarily involve a finishing touch of parmesan cheese.
Here’s why I think you’ll like this version.
My twist involves braising bone-in pork chops (or blade steaks… whatever you can find) right in the soup broth in addition to using a spicy version of ground Italian sausage. This is something my family does with bolognese that I thought would lend itself well to this beloved soup. It gets a big yes in my opinion.
The two different types of pork are an easy way to create more flavor dimension and textural dimension in this humble soup. I’ve also included a second kind of bean, kidney, adding to that heartier adaptation I’m after.
If you like the idea of a meatier, more stew-like version of pasta e fagioli, then this recipe is perfect for you.
Did you make it? Tell me how it went!
Did you like the braised pork shredded into this soup? Did you go the gluten-free route? Do you have any tips or variations you like to do? Let’s swap ideas for pasta e fagioli in the comments below!
Interested in a vegetarian or vegan option?
Omit the pork and sausage, add a can of rinsed and drained Great Northern beans. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. A plant-based sausage alternative can be used in place of the ground pork Italian sausage if desired.
Interested in other Italian recipes on this site?
- 2 lbs bone-in pork chop or blade steak
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper ground
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 yellow or sweet onion dided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage spicy, recommended
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 (14.5 oz) can kidney beans drained, rinsed
- 1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans drained, rinsed
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups dried ditalini pasta cooked to just before al dente
- shaved parmesan cheese
- fresh basil or parsley
- Preheat a Dutch oven to medium temperature and warm the extra virgin olive oil2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Season pork chops with sea salt and black pepper2 lbs bone-in pork chop or blade steak, 1 tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp black pepper
- Sear both sides of the seasoned pork in the hot olive oil for about 2 minutes each side
- Set pork aside. Immediately add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the hot Dutch oven and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes to soften the vegetables.2 stalks celery, 2 carrots, 1 yellow or sweet onion, 3 cloves garlic
- To the vegetables, crumble In the ground Italian sausage and add Italian season blend. Cook for about 4 minutes (stirring occasionally to break up the ground sausage and continue combining ingredients) then add the tomato paste. Mix the tomato paste into the ingredients until evenly distributed and cook for another 3 minutes.1 lb ground Italian sausage, 2 tbsp Italian seasoning, 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Add the drained and rinsed kidney and cannellini beans to the mixture, then the chicken stock, canned diced tomatoes, and canned crushed tomatoes. Mix everything together.1 (14.5 oz) can kidney beans, 1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans, 3 cups chicken stock, 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- Nestle the seared pork back into the pot, submerging them into the broth. Cover and reduce temperature to low. Braise for one hour or until the pork shreds easily.
- While the pork braises prepare the ditalini pasta In a separate pot. Drain the pasta and set aside just before it reaches al dente.2 cups dried ditalini pasta
- When the pork is fork-tender, remove the bones from the soup and shred the pork.
- Stir in the par-cooked ditalini pasta.
- Serve by ladling portions into bowls and topping with parmesan and fresh herbs, if desired.shaved parmesan cheese, fresh basil or parsley