Pasta e Fagioli (Noodle and Bean Soup)


  • 5 cups water
  • 1½ cups dried white beans: navy, baby lima, or northern
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups canned Italian-style tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup each of celery and carrots, finely chopped and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped, or 1 teaspoon garlic granules
  • ½ pound cooked smoked ham, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ cup macaroni (shells, bows, or elbows), uncooked
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish


  1. Place water and beans in saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat for 3 minutes and remove from heat.
  3. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.
  4. Add the onion, tomatoes, celery, carrots, garlic, smoked ham, and bay leaves.
  5. Mix well and bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until beans are tender (about 1½ hours). Stir frequently.
  7. Add macaroni and mix well. Cover and continue simmering until macaroni is tender (about 12 minutes).
  8. Remove and throw out bay leaves before serving.
  9. Serve hot soup in individual bowls with a side dish of Parmesan cheese for the guests to sprinkle into their soup. Serve with crusty bread to dip in the soup.
Serves about 6.

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