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Minestra di Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Bean Soup)

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  • Author: Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Additional Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours


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  • Olive oil (to saute the vegetables) *
  • 5 stalks of celery, including leaves, cleaned with thick white end cut off, and then chopped *
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots (optional) *
  • 1 onion, chopped *
  • 1 big bunch of Italian parsley, cleaned, stems cut off, and chopped *
  • 4 cloves garlic minced *
  • Optional – 4 oz. pancetta, diced (but this takes away from the true ‘poor’ vegetarian version of this soup. My family never added pancetta)
  • 3 quarts water or vegetable broth
  • 1 6oz. can imported Italian tomato paste (add more until your desired level of ‘red’ color and tomato flavor is reached). If you prefer your broth less thick, then use 2 – 3 cans of canned Italian tomatoes. We like our broth to have a richer flavor and that is imparted from tomato paste.
  • 2 cans red kidney beans (I prefer dark red), drained and rinsed clean ~ ~ if you use fresh beans, they must be soaked in water overnight, rinsed and drained
  • OR 2 cans cannellini beans (that were unavailable to my grandparents’ location in the U.S., so they substituted dark red kidney beans that give the soup a much richer flavor).
  • 1” chunk of parmigiana cheese (for a better broth flavor)
  • 1 box ditalini, small sheel, or mini-farfalle shaped pasta
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to your preferred taste.
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese
  • Fresh, crusty, artisanal Italian bread
  • * These are known as “soffrito” or the ‘fried’ base of a soup, which can be made ahead and frozen.


  1. If using dried beans, cover them completely with water in a pot and soak overnight.
  2. Drain water the next day and rinse thoroughly.
  3. In a large, heavy 4 – 5 quart pot, saute the “soffrito” of onion, carrots, and celery in the olive oil.
  4. Add the parsley and garlic and saute for one more minute.
  5. Fill the pot with the water and/or broth.
  6. Add the tomato paste/ tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  7. Add the chunk of parmigiana cheese.
  8. Add the beans, reduce the heat just slightly and cook until slightly tender.
  9. In a separate pot, boil the pasta for only a few minutes; you will continue to cook them for a few more minutes in the finished broth.
  10. Bring the broth to a boil and add the semi-cooked pasta noodles and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes max.
  11. Remove the soup from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Let stand 5 minutes.
  13. Serve in warmed bowls.
  14. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  15. Serve with freshly, grated Parmigiano cheese and fresh, crusty Italian bread.
  16. THIS SOUP IS BETTER IF allowed to rest for 2 hours before serving; it thickens up nicely.
  17. It is even better the NEXT day when all of the flavors are allowed to marry and blend!
  18. If you choose to do this, boil the pasta in a separate pot for only a few minutes because it will continue to cook in the broth. Have the broth warming in another pot. Put the partially cooked pasta in the re-warmed broth and continue to cook until your pasta is al dente.
  19. If you have the pasta noodles in for a long time, they become very large from absorbing the soup liquid, as well as become very soft and mushy.

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