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  • snmorphis

Herb-Forward Pasta e Fagioli

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

1 hour (prepare for about 30 minutes of chopping, and 30-40 minutes of active cook time)

~10 servings

My top three foods are soup, pasta, and parmesan, making this soup practically unbeatable. I've adapted it from this Cooks Illustrated recipe: My recipe is similar, but I emphasize fresh herbs, ditch the anchovy, and add kale for a healthy dose of greens. From a nutrition standpoint, soup is an excellent place to get in lots of fruits and veggies, so adding more to this recipe was a natural first step!

This recipe can be a stand alone meal because it has:

-Lots of plant based protein (white beans and kale). To add more, consider using bone broth instead of regular chicken broth.

-Plenty of vegetables (celery, tomato, carrots, kale, onion, garlic, beans)

-Fibrous carbs (our veggies and beans of course, but also pasta- I used white pasta because we already have so much fiber, I didn't want to overdo it! Feel free to use whatever kind of pasta you prefer.)

The original recipe from Cook's Illustrated calls for anchovy. If you enjoy anchovy, you should absolutely add this because they are flavorful and full of healthy fats. Sadly, the thought of these hairy little fish gives me chills, so I eliminated them from the recipe.


-3 slices of bacon or pancetta, chopped

-1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped

-2 medium celery stalks, chopped

-1 medium carrot, chopped

-6 cloves of garlic, divided and minced (2 cloves may be left whole)

-1 teaspoon dried oregano

-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

-1 28 oz can of petite diced tomatoes

-Parmesan cheese rind (see note)

-2 15 oz cans of white beans (cannellini or great northern)

-32 ounces/ 4 cups of chicken broth

-1 bunch of kale, roughly torn or chopped

-1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

-1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

-1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

-1/4 cup parsley, chopped

-1 cup grated parmesan cheese

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-10 ounces of small pasta such as orzo or ditalini (I used orecchiette), cooked separately (reserve ~2 cups of leftover pasta water to thin out the soup)

Note: you can cut the rind off of parmigiano reggiano and freeze until ready to make soup. Some stores also sell leftover rinds. They are sold separately in the cheese section at Whole Foods.

  1. Heat a large pot on medium high heat. Once hot, add the bacon and cook for several minutes until crispy.

  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery to the pot along with a small pinch of salt. Sauté until onions are translucent and the other veggies have softened, about 10 minutes.

  3. Add 4 cloves of garlic, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes, stirring for about a minute.

  4. Add canned tomatoes with juices, parmesan rind, white beans, and broth. Adjust heat to allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve ~2 cups of pasta water to thin out the soup later. In a mini food processor, combine the fresh oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, 1/2 cup of parmesan, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pulse until a paste has formed.

  6. After simmering, add 2 cups reserved pasta water and kale, and cook until somewhat wilted ~5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste (may need up to 1 teaspoon of salt)

  7. To assemble soup, discard the parmesan rind. Add ~1/4 cup pasta, or desired amount to each individual bowl, top with soup and mix. Cooking the pasta separately allows the pasta in any leftover soup to stay firm and avoid getting soggy. Add ~1 teaspoon- 1 tablespoon of herb paste, to taste, to each bowl. Top with more parmesan as desired, and enjoy!

Pair with a large green salad and crusty bread!

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