Pasta Fagioli

About this recipe

This has to be one of the finest culinary contributions ever made by Italians. It ranks right up there with pizza, spaghetti, and kissing the cook. Make the broth, use what you need, and then either freeze or refrigerate the rest. P.S. Dice your vegetables before starting.


Place a Dutch oven on the stove; turn heat to medium and fry:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil,
  • ½ cooking onion (diced).

When the onion is tender, add:

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced),
  • an Italian handful of extra-lean ground beef (¼-½ lb.),
  • 1½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. chili pepper, and 1 tsp. basil (if you feel like it).

Brown the beef and break up into small pieces. When browned, add:

  • ½ cup white wine,
  • 3 large carrots (diced),
  • 3 stalks celery (diced),
  • 1 (19 oz.) can romano beans (drained and rinsed).

Cover and let wine absorb into everything for 10 minutes. Then remove lid and cook another few minutes until the wine has almost evaporated.

When everything looks good, add:

  • 1 (28 oz.) can plum tomatoes (blended),
  • 1 cup water (first poured into blender to remove remaining tomato purée).

Cover and bring to a boil. Then turn heat down to low and simmer for 45-60 minutes (it's ready when the carrot is cooked). When done, cool, and either use right away (as per below) or freeze to eat another day.

Cook large soup noodles (e.g., tubetti, shells) or rice in salted water. When they’re three-quarters cooked, put some of the water into a side bowl. Add broth to noodles and let them cook together until the noodles are ready. If the soup looks too thick, add back some reserve water from the side bowl. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.


  • Don’t use too much meat—it ruins the soup.
  • Instead of beef, you can use broken-up sausage.
  • Use dried romano beans if you can. Soak 1 cup dried beans in water overnight, and then boil in fresh water for 60-90 minutes and add in place of canned.
    A popular variation is to use chickpeas, add 4 cups chicken stock (with the tomatoes), maybe skip the meat, add some diced potatoes, and use broken spaghetti as your noodles—because of the stock, use less salt.

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