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Pasta Fagioli

December 8, 2009

Pasta fagioli or pasta e fagioli, meaning “pasta and beans”, is a traditional meatless Italian dish. The traditional dish is made with cannellini beans and some type of small pasta such as elbow macaroni. The base is usually olive oil, garlic, minced onion, and spices, along with tomatoes. Since it’s been so cold lately, this is a great one-pot meal to make on a winter day to warm up. I changed up the dish a little bit by using what I had on hand: garbanzo beans instead of cannellini beans and gnoochi as the pasta. Gnocchi is great to use because it really soaks up all the soup and becomes these little balls of flavor that just burst in your mouth. The garbanzo beans added a nice texture to the soup, not to mention the higher protein content. This main-course version of this classic soup has so much flavor from the garlic, basil and olive oil, not to mention the saltiness from the Parmesan cheese. Serve in bowls with grated Parmesan cheese and sop up the sauce with a crusty loaf of bread.

Pasta Fagioli

Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 thin slice onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 4 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1 14-oz. can chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb fresh or frozen gnocchi
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute carrot and onion until soft. Add garlic and saute briefly. Stir in tomato sauce, beans, spinach, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and basil; simmer for 20 minutes. Add gnocchi to the same pot and simmer for 10 minutes until gnocchi are cooked. Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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