Is it Pasta e Fagioli or Pasta Fazool?

Pasta Fazool served in a soup bowl with fresh herbs and grated cheese sprinkled on top


Growing up we had what we called “a poor man’s pasta dish”, that had ditalini pasta (a short little tube-like pasta), white beans, and Mom’s shortcut tomato sauce. My father said he had this dish at least once a week because his family didn’t have a lot of money and meat was prepared sparingly. The pasta served as carbohydrate energy, while the beans were a great protein, and in our version, there is simply the pasta, beans, tomato paste, tomato sauce, onions and Italian herbs. We called it “Pasta Fazool”. I always thought it was slang for what I learned to be “Pasta e Fagioli”, the formal name of this dish. Well, I was stunned to find out that there IS a little difference between them and what we called “Pasta Fazool” was actually a true recipe! “Pasta e Fagioli” tends to be a little more like a soup, and “Pasta Fazool” is thicker, like a stew. Each has so many variations based on a family’s traditional recipe, and recipes all over Italy. 

Pasta Fazool served in a soup bowl with fresh herbs and grated cheese sprinkled on top


I just LOVE this dish! It can be whipped up pretty quickly, and it freezes wonderfully! It’s a comforting, hearty pasta dish that satisfies your hunger and warms your belly! I just begin by getting a pot of water on the stove to boil the ditalini pasta in, and a second pot for sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil (I just use my Blended Oil Seasoning) until they become translucent and tender.

Ditalini pasta plain

adding pasta water and tomato sauce to sautéed onions and garlic

As I boil the pasta, I grab a cup or so of the pasta water and add it to the onions and garlic, along with a can of tomato paste. I blend this together, and cook for a little, then add cannellini, navy or great northern white beans, adding in a can of tomato sauce and some Italian herbs and grated cheese. I let this cook down a little, then add the ditalini pasta and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes more on the stove.


adding white beans to Pasta Fazool dish in the pot


My family goes bonkers for my “Pasta Fazool”! I dish it out in a nice size soup bowl, and grate fresh pecorino Romano cheese all over it, adding some fresh cut parsley and basil. We all dig in, and most of the time, go back for seconds! There is nothing better than having a traditional family’s recipe passed down from generation to generation, and still enjoyed just as if it were the first time you had it! I have family and friends who have their own recipes for “Pasta Fazool” or “Pasta e Fagioli”, some with white sauces, adding pork or pancetta, additional vegetables, like carrots, celery, and zucchini. Some use chick peas, elbow macaroni or other short pastas. However you make it, whether it’s my version or one of your own so you start a new tradition, I promise you won’t be disappointed! And on cold, winter days or any challenging day where you need one of Madeline’s comfort foods, this is one that fits the bill!

Until next time,

Let’s get cookin’


Pasta Fazool or Pasta e Fagioli

This pasta and bean dish was a staple in my Italian household growing up! It is an easy dish to make, and you can vary the ingredients by adding vegetables, pancetta, bacon, sausage, or any meat you'd like! We just make it with the pasta, beans, onion and garlic in a pasty tomato sauce and LOVE IT!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cannellinibeansandpasta, ditalinpasta, easypastadinner, pastaandbeans, pastaandtomatosauce, pastadish, pastaefagioli, pastafazool, whitebeansandpasta
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Madeline Kohler


  • 1 4 - 8 Quart Pot with Lid
  • 1 Medium size sauce pot


  • 1 pound cooked pasta, RESERVING 1 CUP PASTA WATER Ditalini works best but you can use elbow macaroni or any small tube-like pasta
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Kirkland No-Salt Organic seasoning You can substitute a dried herb blended Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup white onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cups pasta water
  • 15 ounces white beans (cannellini, Great Northern, or navy)
  • 2 tsps Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsps parsley, freshly chopped for garnish optional
  • 2 tbsps basil, freshly chopped for garnish optional
  • ½ cup grated cheese, Pecorino Romano or Parmesan


  • Boil the pasta following package directions as a guide but remove from water when the pasta is el dente (still a little firm) and set aside and keep warm.
  • RESERVE 1 CUP PASTA WATER and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan on low - medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, adding Kirkland No-Salt Organic seasoning or Italian Herb seasoning.
  • Cook until onions become translucent (about 5-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  • Add tomato paste and pasta water, stirring until well blended, and cooking for an additional 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  • Add tomato sauce, white beans, stirring occasionally for another 10 minutes.
  • Add pasta, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup grated cheese. Stir to combine, cooking an additional 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  • Serve Pasta Fazool in a soup bowl, sprinkled with remaining grated cheese and fresh herbs.


Pasta Fazool served in a soup bowl with fresh herbs and grated cheese sprinkled on top


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating