Pasta Fagioli is a simple Italian dish made with inexpensive ingredients but packed with lots of flavor and home cooked comfort.
What is the Difference Between Minestrone and Pasta Fagioli?
Pasta Fagioli literally means pasta and beans. The classic Italian Pasta Fagioli doesn’t include lots of different kinds of veggies – mostly just pasta, beans, onions or garlic, and a tomato base. Minestrone has lots of different vegetables in it and doesn’t necessarily have pasta and beans.
Our version of Pasta Fagioli has beans, pasta, ground beef, and veggies, of course! This is kind of a copycat of the famous Olive Garden soup, but since we love our Instant Pot so much we had to give it a go. We wanted to make a substantial soup with a little more protein and flavor, so we opted to add the extra ingredients.
Tips For Making Pasta Fagioli
First things first: this dish is super easy, but recipe tips always make things a bit easier- especially in the dinner time crazy hour.
- Chop your veggies ahead of time. If you want dinner to go super quick and you know you don’t have a lot of time to cook right before dinner, having the veggies chopped makes it a million times faster. That is the only time intensive part of this recipe.
- If you have a picky eater, try pureeing some of the ingredients before adding them to the soup. You can do this with the carrots, beans and even the celery!
- The bigger the pasta, the more liquid it will soak up.
- Always top your soup with a little sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for the perfect bite every time.
Why the Instant Pot Is Amazing To Make Pasta Fagioli
The real truth is that it only requires 2 minutes of actual cooking in the pot time. 2 minutes! You will need to let it naturally release for 5 minutes, and so we can say 7 minutes- but still, it is SO fast! Having a meal come together and cook so fast in ONE POT is like a total dinner miracle. And a blessing. And then you just have one pot to wash. I love that you can saute, simmer and boil all in one pot. It makes it fast and simple to cook and fast and simple to clean up.
Pasta and Beans
Both of these are really kid friendly foods because they are mild, soft, and very familiar. We chose cavatappi for this recipe because it looks so pretty and it is fun to eat! There are so many different types of each, but these are the types of both pasta and beans that work well with this soup:
Orzo – This sometimes gets mistaken for rice, but it can add heartiness to soup and mixes well with lots of different types of veggies.
Elbow, Pipettes, Ditalini, Shells, Mini Farfalle – These are all typically made with semolina and wheat and are a perfect match for the hearty veggies in this soup.
Traditional pasta fagioli is made with cannellini beans because they have a delicate flavor and texture. These are definitely a good one to use, but there are some other delicious options too.
Kidney – you can find kidney beans dried or canned throughout the year, making them an ideal pantry staple to stock for those last minute meals.
Fava – these have a firm texture and nutty flavor that makes them ideal for soups, salads, dips, and pasta dishes.
Great Northern Beans – these are a mild white bean. These beans are small, and readily absorb the flavors of their surrounding ingredients, which makes them ideal for soups.
Navy beans – small, white, mild beans. They are interchangeable in most recipes with great northern beans and cannellini beans, which are slightly larger, but have a similar mild taste.
Delicious Sides for Soups
This soup has all of the elements you need for a complete meal, but sometimes it seems like your table is a little bare if there isn’t one more thing with the soup. We love to serve a good bread with this Pasta Fagioli Soup.