Stop, wait, hold it. Take a deeep breath. Can you smell it? The comforting, warming smells of a steaming pot of pasta fagioli soup… Tomato-y, hearty, herby… Ah. Perfect. Now we can start.
About 4 years ago, I made pasta fagioli for the first time in my life. And ever since? I’ve been hooked.
I actually shared my original recipe (err, my great-grandmother-in-law’s recipe) on the blog before, but I thought it would be time to come rightatcha with a different one.
The weather has finally, FINALLY, cooled down around here and I’ve been enjoying it all: Cuddling up into my furry blanket in PJs before starting the day. Wearing fuzzy socks with no shame at all (OK, maybe a little).
Watching Brani scratch the ice off the car in the morning while I’m standing in the warm kitchen (I know, I win the Best Wife Ever award).
What can I say? Soup is the best.
The wonderful thing about Pasta Fagioli is that it’s truly a full meal:
- it has beans for plant-based protein
- there’s starchy pasta
- plenty of vegetables for fiber and nutrients
- sausage and bacon are optional (just double up on the beans if you want to keep things vegetarian), but absolutely add some wonderful depth of flavor
I know the ingredient list for this soup looks insane and you can probably (definitely) find easier ones, but I always say soup might be simple to cook – but it’s not the quickest of tasks to make an actually tasty one.
It takes a lot of veggie chopping, spice measuring (or… eyeballing) and plenty of love to make a truly good pot of soup.
It is always my kitchen philosophy to nourish every part of your gorgeous self – and sometimes you just have to put in a little elbow grease if you want to eat something that doesn’t just satisfy your caloric needs, but your mind, body AND soul.
I used regular pasta here because I really wanted to do the Ditalini, but I couldn’t find a whole grain version. When I make it just for us (without snapping pretty pictures for the blog), I usually add whole wheat Farfalle which work just as well.
Don’t stir the cooked pasta into the soup if you want to freeze it – it would turn out super mushy once defrosted. Instead, add a little bit of pasta to each serving bowl.
I hope you’ll give it a try despite the many ingredients – your soul will thank you for it times infinity ♡
Hearty Pasta Fagioli Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 ounces thick bacon diced
- 1 pound Italian sausage casings removed and crumbled
- 3 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 5 medium celery stalks sliced
- 2 yellow onions peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Italian herb blend
- 1/2 cup red wine OR water
- 1 24-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 15-oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken broth OR water
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup dry ditalini pasta
- 1 15-oz can red kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 15-oz can white cannelini or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- Grated parmesan to serve
- Brown the meats: Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the sausage and continue cooking until browned as well, about 4-5 minutes.
- Sauté the vegetables: Add the carrots to the meats in the pot and cook until starting to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the celery, onions and garlic and keep cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
- Season and deglaze: Stir the tomato paste, Italian seasoning and garlic powder into the pot until evenly distributed. Pour the red wine OR water into the pot and cook, scratching the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
- Cook the soup: Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Finish the soup: While the soup is cooking, prepare the ditalini according to package directions. Once the soup is done cooking, stir in both beans and cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Stir in the ditalini and serve with grated parmesan.