ina garten’s “16 bean” pasta e fagioli

How many recipes are out there for Pasta e Fagioli, do you think?  Hundreds? Thousands? Here’s one from that massive collection, compliments of Ina Garten. It can be found in Ina’s book, Cooking for Jeffrey. Of course, I tweaked it a bit, but just a little.

This one is heavy on the tomato flavor (yum) and is quite hearty. You could probably guess that by the whole “16 bean” thing, right? Speaking of those beans, you will need to plan ahead on this one since the dry beans need to soak overnight.

When you are ready to start on the soup, the beans will need to be rinsed and drained, then simmered in a generous amount of water for about an hour.

Definitely, give those beans a head start. But while they are cooking, you can start working on the rest of your creation. So much of the flavor of this soup stems from the browning of the pancetta along with the onions and garlic. There’s a bit of heat, too. I add just a quarter teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the mix. If you like your food spicy, feel free to amp it up a bit.

The tomatoes, wine & chicken stock are added to that flavorful base. Hopefully, by that time your beans are done. The majority of beans are added to the pot but a portion of them will first be pureed either in your blender or with an immersion blender. You may need to add a bit of liquid (extra stock or water) to blend them properly.

The pureed beans are then added to the pot along with the dry pasta. You’re on the home stretch now. After a 20 to 30 minute simmer, your soup will be ready for the final touches.

When ready, the shredded parmesan cheese is added to the soup along with the vinegar. Just before serving, top off each bowl with a swirl of olive oil, a sprinkling of grated parmesan and some fresh basil. Fresh crusty bread and extra parmesan on the side wouldn’t be turned down, for sure.

ina garten's "16 bean" pasta e fagioli

Adapted from a recipe in Cooking for Jeffrey

Hearty and delicious.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Rosemary Stelmach


  • 1 (16-ounce) bag Goya 16 Bean Soup Mix
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 6 ounces pancetta, diced into 1/4" pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken stock or broth
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup miniature pasta, such as ditalini or tubettini
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon good red wine vinegar
  • julienned fresh basil leaves, for serving


  1. The day before you plan to make the soup, place the bean mix in a large bowl, add cold water to cover by 2 inches and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain the beans, rinse under cold running water and drain again. Place the beans in a large pot with 8 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally and skim off any foam that rises to the top. The beans should be very tender and the skin will peel away when you blow on a bean.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium (10-inch) stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pancetta and onion and saute over medium to medium-high heat for 12 to 18 minutes, until browned. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for one minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and 4 cups of the chicken stock. Season to taste with up to 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper and turn off the heat.

  3. Drain the beans and add two-thirds of them to the soup. Puree the remaining beans in a blender or with an immersion blender, adding a small amount of stock or water if necessary. Stir the bean puree and the pasta into the soup, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender. Add up to 2 more cups chicken stock if the soup is too thick. 

  4. Stir in the Parmesan and the vinegar. Ladle the soup into large shallow bowls and add a swirl of olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan and some basil. Serve hot with extra Parmesan on the side.

Recipe Notes

Keep in mind that the beans require an overnight soak.

You can refrigerate the soup for up to 5 days or freeze up to 6 months. Add more chicken stock or water if the soup is too thick.

ina garten's "16 bean" pasta e fagioli

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