This Italian American version of Pasta e Fagioli is rustic and comforting in the best possible way! It’s perfect for chilly Autumn evenings!
In an odd sort of way, I have to credit large, American chain restaurants for this delicious recipe. I’m not kidding when I say that this Pasta e Fagioli is an all-time favorite. I’ve made it a number of times, and I never (ever!) get tired of eating it. The Italian sausage combined with the beans and pasta brings a whole array of delicious flavor to a bowl of this Pasta e Fagioli. I almost always go back for seconds when I’ve got a fresh pot of this one sitting on the stovetop.
But back to that American chain restaurants thing. You see, Pasta e Fagioli is a quintessential peasant food. Italian in origin, this recipe originally began as its translation – ‘pasta and beans.’ It was a rustic soup made from cheap and plentiful ingredients. Then Olive Garden came along.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have no issues with Olive Garden. Their endless soup and salad (and occasionally endless pasta) is a fun way to mix up the normal routine. In fact, I have a copycat recipe for Olive Garden Breadsticks that I’ll be sharing sometime soon. But Olive Garden changed Pasta e Fagioli…and I would argue that it got changed in a
good awesome way!
Pasta e Fagioli
Unlike the traditional Italian version of this recipe, this American Italian version includes sausage and tomato sauce. The browned Italian sausage in this recipe brings a ton of flavor! Every bite has a deep, rich flavor…even if there’s no sausage in that bite. And to think there was a time I didn’t like Italian sausage… (In truth, it was the fennel. However, I’ve come to enjoy fennel now.) I used mild Italian sausage here because the store was all out of bulk hot Italian sausage. Either hot or mild would work well based on your preferences for spicy food.
This soup is traditionally made with dried cranberry beans, or borlotti. However, cranberry beans aren’t all that easy to find in upstate New York. I’m sure I could’ve ordered ’em on Amazon (you can literally order anything on Amazon, right?), but I opted for the easier route. I grabbed a couple cans of cannellini beans instead. The creaminess of the beans along with the sausage and pasta makes for a dish with a variety of textures. It works! It works so well that I want to go get another bowl right now – with my morning coffee. (Haha. I kid…sorta.)
Ditilini is the most common type of pasta used in Pasta e Fagioli, however any small pasta would work. I like to use ditalini in my classic macaroni salad recipe (another household favorite!), and I’ve found that it’s fairly common around here. If ditalini isn’t available in your area, I recommend using small macaroni or orzo.
So while this version of Pasta e Fagioli might have evolved into something a bit more than a basic vegetable soup, I promise that it’s a good one! It’s the ultimate of comfort food. And now you can have “endless soup” nights in your own house!
Did you make a pot of this Pasta e Fagioli in your house? Leave a comment, or better yet snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). Enjoy!
Pasta e Fagioli
- 16 oz. bulk Italian sausage mild or spicy
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks finely chopped
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasonings
- 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 15.5-oz. cans cannellini beans, undrained
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup ditalini pasta or another small pasta
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese for finishing
- freshly chopped Italian parsley for finishing
- Place a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes. Leave sausage in pot, but drain excess fat.
- Add olive oil along with onion, carrots and celery; stir until well combined. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 more minutes.
- Add garlic, stir until well combined. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans and chicken stock; stir until well combined. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, add pasta; stir until well combined. Boil for 8-9 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.
- Divide into bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley.
Looking for more Italian-inspired soups and stews? Check out these other favorites: