Pasta e Fagioli

pasta e fagioli.
iStock | credit: rlat


3 tablespoons onion powder  

2 cloves chopped garlic or 3 tablespoons of garlic powder

2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 

2 large cans of Dei Fratelli Sauce (not the “Italian” variety—just plain “tomato”)

1 parmesan rind plus 1/2 cup grated parmesan for serving (Parmigiano Reggiano works best)

1 pound small pasta, such as ditalini*

salt and black pepper, to taste

Half a stick of pepperoni (this can be omitted for Lent)


  1. Heat Dei Fratelli sauce in a large pot set over medium-low heat. Fill a Dei Fratelli can with water four times and add each to the pot. Add onion powder, garlic powder and pepperoni, and cook, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook for two hours.

  2. Increase the heat to a simmer and add the drained beans and parmesan rind. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, bring two quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Season with two teaspoons salt. Add pasta and cook following package directions. Drain pasta and portion among serving bowls.

  4. Remove pepperoni and pour sauce into serving bowls. You can also add the pasta directly to the sauce, but please note that the pasta can get mushy over time in the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the cheese of your choice.


*If you are freezing the pasta e fagioli, skip step #3 and cook the pasta at the time of serving.

This recipe was submitted by Deacon Jesse McClain, whose wife calls it “Soup to Die For,” as he often makes this to comfort families who have lost a loved one. Deacon Jesse serves at St. Patrick Parish in Youngstown.


A reflection from Deacon Jesse McClain, who serves at St. Patrick Parish, Youngstown.

Pasta e fagioli, pronounced “pasta fazool,” is a traditional Italian dish that translates to “pasta and beans.” The soup is a staple in Italian cuisine and has been around for centuries, with origins dating back to ancient Rome. 

In its earliest forms, pasta e fagioli was a simple peasant dish made with beans, vegetables and small amounts of pasta. However, as the dish spread throughout Italy and eventually made its way to the United States, the recipe changed to suit different tastes and regional preferences. In some regions of Italy, pasta e fagioli is still made with small pasta shapes, such as ditalini or elbows. In other regions, the pasta is left out entirely, and the dish is simply referred to as fagioli. 

In the United States, Italian immigrants adapted the recipe to include ingredients that were more readily available, such as canned beans and tomato sauce. Today, pasta e fagioli remains a popular and comforting dish, perfect for cold winter months. Whether you prefer your pasta e fagioli with or without pasta, or with or without meat for flavoring, the combination of beans, vegetables and savory broth is sure to warm you up on a chilly day. So, during Lent and other times, I hope you enjoy this filling and comforting food for the body as you do your faith for the soul. In a way, pasta e fagioli is kind of like Christianity—there are various types and ingredients, but its roots are the same. It is as comforting and filling as Catholicism is to believers.

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Picture of Deacon Jesse McClain

Deacon Jesse McClain

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