White Pasta e Fagioli is a delicious take on a classic soup recipe. This flavorful soup has pancetta, cubed potatoes and tender white beans with ditalini pasta in a parmesan, herb infused broth. Serves about 6 to 8 depending on serving size.
I love soup season!
So I’m always on the look out for new soups to make and/or try. A few weeks ago, my friend Star was making a white pasta e fagioli soup on instagram stories and I quickly jotted down the ingredients and compared those with measurements a more traditional pasta e fagioli recipe I have in my cookbook. The outcome? Amazing. Light yet flavorful and incredibly satisfying.
This soul-warming soup is pretty simple to prepare and comes together quickly.
(Thank you for the inspiration, Star!)
To Make This White Pasta e Fagioli You Will Need:
- pancetta – Gives this soup a smoky flavor and delicious meaty texture.
- yellow onion – Adds a sweet and subtle onion flavor to the soup.
- celery – Lends subtle flavor and rounds the other flavors in the soup.
- garlic – Adds another layer of flavor to the soup.
- kosher salt – This will draw out flavor of the vegetables and seasons the soup.
- cannelini beans – In this recipe, I puree 1 can to create a thicker, less broth-y soup.
- russet potatoes – A comforting addition to this soup.
- bundle of fresh herbs (bouquet garni) – I use freshly parsley, oregano and thyme.
- parmesan rind – This will infuse the soup with umami flavor.
- vegetable broth – Low-sodium chicken broth can also be substituted.
- ditalini pasta – A small, short tube pasta. Tubetti or macaroni can be substituted.
- white pepper – Brighter, a little sharper and more herbaceous notes than regular black pepper.
Ditalini pasta is typically the pasta of choice for rustic soups like pasta e fagioli. However, if in a pinch you can use any small tube pasta like tubetti or macaroni.
What is a bouquet garni?
Bouquet garni translates to garnished bouquet. Which essentially is a small bundle of fresh herbs tied together with cotton kitchen string or is placed in a cheesecloth bag. This is added after you pour in the broth/stock/water and just before you start to simmer. It’s purpose is to flavor the soup without having pieces of herbs floating around. Although herbs like thyme and rosemary don’t alway stay attached to the stem. The bouquet garni is removed and discarded right before serving.
In a dutch oven, add 4 ounces diced pancetta.
Heat over medium to medium-low, cooking until browned. Once crispy, remove and transfer to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the residual fat in the pot.
While the pancetta is cooking, add 1 (15 ounce) can of cannelini beans to a mini food processor.
Secure the lid and blend until smooth. The pureed beans will add a slight thickness to the soup.
Drain and rinse the remaining 2 (15 ounce) cans of cannelini beans and set aside.
To the fat in the dutch oven, add 1 medium diced yellow onion, 2 ribs sliced celery and 4 cloves minced garlic with a pinch of kosher salt.
Stir and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.
Once the vegetables are tender, add in the bean puree, drained and rinsed beans, peeled and diced potatoes, parmesan rind and fresh herb bundle.
Pour in 6 cups vegetable broth.
Cover and bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
While the soup simmers, bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add in a small palmful of fine sea salt and 1 cup ditalini pasta. Cook to al dente according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain the pasta.
Can You Cook The Pasta In The Soup?
Yes! I would add them halfway through the simmering/potatoes cooking as they need about 15 minutes to cook. You may need to add extra broth as the pasta will absorb some. Also, stir often to avoid the pasta sinking and sticking o the bottom of the pot.
Once the soup has finished simmering and the potatoes are tender, remove the herb bundle and parmesan cheese rind.
Add in the cooked pasta and pancetta.
Stir, taste and season with kosher salt to taste and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Black pepper is fine to substitute.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with extra freshly grated parmesan cheese, minced parsley and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
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White Pasta e Fagioli
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 springs oregano
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 2 ribs celery, sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- kosher salt
- 2 cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can cannelini beans, undrained and pureed
- 2 medium russet potates, peeled and diced
- 1 parmesan rind
- 6 cups vegetable broth, plus more if needed
- 1 cup ditalini pasta
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
- parsley, minced, for serving
- 6 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, for serving
- Add pancetta to a 6-quart (or slightly larger) dutch oven and heat over medium to medium-low. Stir and cook the pancetta until crispy. Then remove and transfer to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.
- Meanwhile, bundle the thyme, parsley and oregano and tie together with kitchen string. Set aside.
- To the fat in the pan add the onion, celery and garlic with a small pinch of salt. Stir and cook until softened.
- While the vegetables are cooking, puree 1 can of beans (with the liquids) until smooth. And drain and rinse the 2 remaining cans of beans.
- Once the vegetables are tender, add in both the pureed beans and whole beans, diced potatoes, parmesan rind and herb bundle before pouring in the vegetable broth.
- Cover and bring the soup to a simmer and cook on medium low to low, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add in a small palmful of fine sea salt and 1 cup ditalini pasta. Cook, stirring often, according to the package directions until al dente, then drain.
- Once the soup has finished simmering and the potatoes are tender, remove the herb bundle and parmesan cheese rind. If your soup needs more broth, add it now and heat through. Add in the cooked pasta and pancetta.
- Stir, taste and season with kosher salt to your liking and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with extra freshly grated parmesan cheese, minced parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Can You Cook The Pasta In The Soup?Yes! I would add them halfway through the simmering/potatoes cooking as they need about 15 minutes to cook. You may need to add extra broth as the pasta will absorb some. Also, stir often to avoid the pasta sinking and sticking o the bottom of the pot.
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