Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli Recipe | Authentic Recipe

As much as I love trying new recipes, sometimes there’s nothing more comforting and satisfying than revisiting old favorites. That’s why the Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli recipe is one of my all-time favorite Italian dishes. This hearty combination of ditalini pasta, tomatoes, beans (fagioli), aromatic Mediterranean herbs like fresh oregano and basil lends itself to an incredibly flavorful meal that even the most picky eaters can agree on. Best part? It takes less than an hour from stovetop to table – so you can enjoy a tasty dinner without spending hours in the kitchen. Keep reading to get a step-by-step guide for making this delicious dish just like Ina Garten does.

Introduction To Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli

What Is Pasta Fagioli?

Pasta fagioli (“pasta and beans” in Italian) is a classic dish that originates from the Abruzzo region of Italy. It’s made up of pasta, tomatoes, beans like kidney or cannellini beans, and savory herbs to enhance the flavor. This dish can be served as a main course with a side of salad or vegetables, or as a hearty soup. You can also customize it with the addition of meat like sausage, bacon, or ham.

What Is Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli?
What Is Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli?

What Is The Origin Of Pasta Fagioli?

Pasta fagioli is said to have originated in the Abruzzo region of Italy. It has been around since at least the 15th century and likely much earlier, although it’s exact origin is unknown. This dish is considered a peasant food due to its low cost and easy preparation – all you need are some staples that can be easily found in the pantry. It’s a great way to feed a lot of people on a budget and comes with the added bonus of being incredibly tasty.

Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli Recipe

Making Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli recipe is easy and delicious – so why not give it a try? Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or planning to feed a crowd, this Italian classic will satisfy all your comfort food cravings.

What Are The Tips For Making The Perfect Pasta Fagioli?

  1. Start with the best ingredients you can find – fresh vegetables and quality canned tomatoes are key for a delicious pasta fagioli.
  2. Don’t overcook the vegetables – they should be tender but still retain their shape and color.
  3. Use ditalini pasta for an authentic Italian dish, but any small cut pasta like macaroni, shells, or orecchiette can be used as well.
  4. Make sure to season the pasta fagioli well with salt and pepper – it really makes a difference in the flavor.
  5. Don’t forget to add freshly grated Parmesan cheese for an extra hit of umami flavor.
  6. For a heartier meal, you can add cooked bacon or sausage to the pot along with the vegetables.
  7. Leftover pasta fagioli can be easily reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop for an easy lunch or quick dinner option.
  8. This dish is even better the next day when all of the flavors have had a chance to marry together – so don’t be shy about making extra for leftovers.

What You Need To Make Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli?

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound ditalini pasta
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Step-By-Step Guide To Making Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened.
  2. Add in the red pepper flakes (if using) and tomato paste and cook for another minute or two until fragrant.
  3. Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add in the ditalini pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until al dente (or to desired texture).
  5. Stir in the beans, oregano, basil, salt and pepper to taste then simmer for 5 more minutes.
  6. Serve the pasta fagioli with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired. 
Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli Recipe
Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli Recipe

How To Make The Most Comforting Pasta E Fagioli?

Pasta fagioli is a super versatile dish, so feel free to customize it with whatever you have on hand. If you want a heartier meal, add sausage or bacon to the pot at the start for some added flavor and texture. To make it vegetarian, omit the meat and double up on beans and vegetables like spinach or mushrooms. Or if you’re looking for something lighter, use less pasta and/or beans and add more broth to make a thinner soup. The possibilities are endless.

What Are Pros And Cons Of Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli Recipe?


  • This dish is incredibly easy to make with pantry staples – no special ingredients or trips to the store necessary.
  • It’s a great meal for feeding a crowd without breaking the bank.
  • Pasta fagioli is an amazing way to use up leftovers in your fridge too.
  • The flavors of this dish develop even more if it’s made ahead of time and reheated the next day.
  • The variations are endless – you can customize it to suit any taste.


  • It can be a bit time consuming to make, as there is quite a bit of chopping involved.
  • This dish does not freeze well, so it’s best when eaten within a few days of making.
  • It can be a bit heavy due to the amount of pasta and beans in the recipe.

What Are Drinks To Pair With Pasta Fagioli?

Pasta fagioli is a hearty Italian dish that pairs well with light and refreshing drinks. A crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would be perfect, as would an ice-cold beer. If you’re looking for something non-alcoholic to enjoy, try a sparkling soda or lemonade. No matter what you choose, it will be the perfect accompaniment to your meal.

What Are Side Dishes That Good With Pasta Fagioli?

The Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli recipe is already quite filling, so you may want to keep the sides simple. A light green salad with a simple vinaigrette or some crusty garlic bread would be delicious. You could also serve it with roasted vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts for added nutrition. Another great option would be to make a fresh antipasto platter, complete with cured meats, olives, and cheese.

What Are The Variations Of Pasta Fagioli?

The great thing about this classic Italian dish is that it can be easily adapted to suit any taste not just Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli recipe. Here are some delicious variations you can try:

  • Use whole wheat pasta for a healthier option.
  • Add cooked ground beef, turkey, or chicken for extra protein.
  • Substitute fresh tomatoes for canned ones for a fresher flavor.
  • Use other beans like black beans, chickpeas, or lentils for a twist on the classic.
  • Throw in some fresh spinach or kale for added nutrition and color.
  • Make it spicy with a few dashes of hot sauce or red pepper flakes.
  • Add some chopped olives for a salty briny burst of flavor.
  • Switch up the herbs and use whatever you have on hand like parsley, thyme, or marjoram.
  • Replace the Parmesan cheese with grated Romano or Asiago for a sharper taste.
What Are The Variations Of Pasta Fagioli?
What Are The Variations Of Pasta Fagioli?

How To Store Pasta Fagioli?

Leftover pasta fagioli can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you want to freeze it, make sure to cool it completely first and then transfer it to a freezer-safe bag or container. When ready to enjoy, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Conclusion: Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli Recipe

The Barefoot Contessa Pasta Fagioli recipe is a classic Italian dish that is incredibly easy to make with pantry staples. It’s perfect for feeding a crowd and the variations are endless – you can customize it to suit any taste. This dish pairs well with light and refreshing drinks like white wine, beer, or sparkling soda. Serve it with a simple green salad or roasted vegetables for added nutrition.

FAQs: Pasta Fagioli

What is the difference between minestrone and pasta fagioli?

Pasta fagioli and minestrone are both delightful Italian soups that boast similar flavors and offer flexibility in vegetable choices. However, the key distinction lies in the beans used in pasta fagioli. They are typically blended or mashed, resulting in a thicker consistency compared to the traditionally brothy minestrone. Both soups showcase the artistry of Italian cuisine while allowing for personalization based on available ingredients.

What is pasta fagioli soup made of?

Pasta e Fagioli, a classic Italian dish, translates to “pasta and beans.” This delightful recipe combines humble ingredients such as pasta, beans, and tomatoes, with the possibility of adding a touch of savory meat or vegetables. Each region boasts its own unique spin on pasta fagioli, sometimes with meat and often without.

Does pasta fagioli contain meat?

Pasta e Fagioli can include meat, although it is not usually the main component. Bacon or pancetta are often used to add flavor to the soup, and it may also include Italian sausage or ground beef. However, a vegetarian version of the soup can be made without any meat at all.

Is pasta fagioli high in carbs?

This item is moderately high in carbohydrates, accounting for 25% of the daily value per 100g. It also contains a relatively high amount of saturated fat, contributing to 44% of the daily value per 100g. However, it is worth noting that this item does not provide any fiber content, representing 0% of the daily value per 100g.

What is the nickname for pasta fagioli?

Pasta e fagioli, also known as pasta and beans, lovingly referred to as ‘pasta fazool’ in Italian-American slang, stands out as a globally renowned culinary masterpiece within the vast Italian repertoire.

Does pasta e fagioli have protein?

This product is high in protein, boasting an impressive 16.8 grams per serving, making it an excellent choice for those looking to meet their protein needs and support their active lifestyle.

How many calories are in homemade pasta fagioli soup?

1-1/2 cups of this delicious dish contains 276 calories, with just 7g of fat (2g saturated fat), 60mg of cholesterol, and 379mg of sodium. It also provides 33g of carbohydrates (including 11g of sugars and 8g of fiber) and a satisfying 21g of protein. For those managing diabetes, this meal is a great option, as it is equivalent to 2 starch and 2 lean meat exchanges.

Can you freeze pasta fagioli?

Refrigerate the soup for a maximum of 4 days. For convenient make-ahead meals, freeze it and reheat whenever desired. Simply let the soup cool, then transfer it to freezer-safe containers. It can be frozen for up to 3 months, maintaining its deliciousness for future enjoyment.

Why do Americans say Pasta Fagioli?

As per Wikipedia, the American slang term “fazool” gained popularity through a 1927 song performed by Van and Schenck. The catchy rhyme “Don’t be a fool, eat pasta fazool” helped spread its usage. Let’s heed their advice and indulge in this delightful dish.

Is Pasta Fagioli from Asia or Italy?

Although pasta is often associated with Italian cuisine, it is believed to have originated from ancient Asian noodles. A prevalent theory suggests that Marco Polo introduced pasta to Italy from China in the 13th century.

Where in Italy is Pasta Fagioli most popular?

The region of Lazio, nestled around Rome, is home to many iconic pasta dishes that have gained worldwide fame. Among these culinary treasures is the renowned carbonara, a dish that graces every menu in Rome. Crafted with eggs, guanciale or pancetta, and Parmigiano Reggiano, this gastronomic delight strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and decadence.

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