Pasta e Fagioli
“Pasta fazool,” the hearty pasta and bean soup, is Italian American comfort food at its best.
Why This Recipe Works
From type of bean to shape of pasta—and even whether or not it contains meat—the iterations of this Italian American pasta-and-bean soup are endless. One version from a restaurant in northern New Jersey, which was deeply but gently savory, thick and hearty, and studded with creamy beans and soft little pieces of pasta, was the inspiration for our version. Starting with a base of pancetta, finely chopped vegetables, plenty of garlic, and a small but powerful punch from tomato paste, we built a rich and flavorful broth as a backdrop for our soup. To thicken it, we pureed half the cannellini beans that we were adding to the soup. For ease, rather than boiling the pasta in a separate pot, we added little ditalini right into the simmering soup to cook in the last moments before serving. Some grated Parmesan cheese for extra richness and seasoning and a big handful of fresh basil for a blast of fragrant freshness was all that was needed to finish the dish.