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Italian Bean Soup with Fresh Pasta

4 Servings

40 minutes

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This is not your typical Italian bean and pasta soup. It’s a simplified version of a hearty, rustic zuppa we tasted at Trattoria dai Mugnai in Monteveglio, a village outside of Bologna. Short, wide ribbons of fresh pasta float dumpling-like in a creamy bean puree subtly flavored with garlic and fresh herbs. If you have a piece of Parmesan rind, simmer it with the beans; it releases savory flavors into the broth. For weeknight ease, we use canned Roman beans (also known as borlotti beans or cranberry beans). If you cannot find canned Roman beans, pintos, which have a similar color and texture, are a fine substitute. If you own an immersion blender, you can use it to puree the beans directly in the saucepan without first cooling the mixture for 10 minutes. Whichever type of blender you use, if you added a piece of Parmesan rind to the pot, remember to remove it before pureeing.




Don’t use dried pasta for this soup, as it will not cook properly. Fresh pasta is key. Look for wide, ribbon-like noodles such as pappardelle, tagliatelle or fettuccine and cut them into 2-inch lengths before use. If you can find sheets of fresh pasta, they work nicely, too—simply cut them into rough 2-inch squares. Don’t puree the beans until completely smooth; leave them with some texture.

40 minutes



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Michael B.
March 8, 2024
Italian mother-in-law approved
I first prepared this for my mother-in-law (who is from Italy), and her three adult children, who all grew up eating rustic Italian fare at home. They were delighted! And to show it wasn't all to spare my feelings, my spouse and mother-in-law asked me to make it again the next time she came to visit. I followed the recipe as-is both times, though I used tagliolini the first time and opted to buy fresh lasagna sheets the second time and cut them into pappardelle-width short-ish ribbons. I happen to have an immersion blender, which makes this even easier to pull off (though I chose to ladle out half the beans into a bowl while I pureed the other half, then added it back in -- that way it's easier to ensure you get an even bean-to-puree ratio, and it helps to ensure the big pieces of garlic stay in the pot and get blended up, too).
Kirsten M.
November 30, 2023
Very winter cozy
Loved this soup! It scaled up nicely. I used fresh cavatappi pasta, I was concerned it would be too thick but it worked fine. Highly recommended!
Lori A.
January 13, 2023
Easy, simple and delicious!
I didn't have fresh herbs on hand, so used ones I dried after Thanksgiving. Also had to substitute the beans (used one can pinto, another of cannellini) and no problem there either. You could easily add a spoonful of ham base for added smoky flavor. Or throw in spinach with the pasta for added nutrition. Big hit with little effort and very flexible.
Tim R.
December 4, 2022
Tim Ruck
Added spinach. Fried/ sliced up some turkey sausage links to add. However, this was just icing on the cake. The soup stands on its own. Pureeing the soup results in a great consistency. Might have cooked it too long; the pasta sucked up all of the liquid.
Jim C.
December 1, 2022
Simple, amazing, elegant
What a hearty and wonderful soup for any day of the week. I kept a few beans in tact because I was tired of transferring the soup to the blender, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The herbs provide a tasty undertone of flavor and the rind really adds some depth. I added a splash of lemon juice at the very end. I would make this 10 days out of 10. With garlic bread, a salad, and some wine, it's an amazing meal meant to comfort.
Lori O.

Excellent! Easy, hearty and flavorful. Followed exactly, used sage and the Jovial brand jarred Roman (Borlotti) beans. I think the parmesan rind is definitely worth adding too.

christine d.

My soup was not thin enough, it ended up being more like spaghetti with bean sauce. I used dried Rancho Gordo cranberry beans, so the flavor was amazing.

Lynn C.

Hi Christine -

This recipe was developed for canned beans. It should still work with cooked, dried beans but if you try to cook the beans in the soup, there won't be enough water to compensate. Also, make sure to use *fresh* pasta, not dried. Again, there isn't enough water to account for cooking dried pasta.

The Milk Street Team

christine d.

Thank you! I hope you make a video of this recipe, I'd love to see it being made.

christine d.

Thank you! I hope you make a video of this recipe, I'd love to see it being made.

Susan M.

Delicious. I followed the recipe exactly as written. My first bowl was definitely soup consistency. However, it thickens fairly quickly. While waiting for it to cool to store in the refrigerator, it had already thickened to more of a pasta dish with a heavy bean sauce. I'm not complaining. The flavors are so good. Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow.

Nicole B.

One of those dishes that is greater than the sum of its parts. Hearty, comforting, and delicious. It's a quick and easy dinner, perfect with a salad and crusty bread!

Tracie E.

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Ellen G.

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Mary G.

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