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Italian Food - Pasta and Bean Stew (Pasta e Fagioli)

Updated on October 17, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli
Pasta e Fagioli
Italian Food
Italian Food
Cannelloni Beans
Cannelloni Beans
Leftover Ham Bone
Leftover Ham Bone
Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Italian Food

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Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)


I grew up in a mostly Polish-German area of north central Wisconsin. The only Italian food that we ate came from cans labeled Chef Boyardee.


I tasted my first pizza when I attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1958. When I graduated from school, my first job was for Dupont in Newburgh, New York, where the population was mostly Italian.


All of the young engineers working at that location had hourly assistants helping them. Mine was named John Dubaldi and another one was Frankie Fabiano.


Frankie was newly married and each day he would call his wife before leaving work to ask if she wanted him to stop for anything on the way home. She would always end her list with "and bring me a pack of cigarettes and a surprise".


Frankie used to always rave about his wife’s "pasta fazool" as he called it. He would say "I have to hurry home tonight because my wife made pasta fazool with a leftover ham bone.


Unfortunately, he never invited me to dinner, but he made me curious and I eventually learned to make it on my own. Many recipes for pasta fazool start with some pancetta or bacon, but I like to start with a leftover ham bone just like Frankie’s wife did.




Preparation Time:

2 Hours

Cooking Time:

2 hours



1 Ham Bone with some meat left on it

4 Cans of Cannelloni Beans drained and rinsed

1 Medium Onion peeled and finely chopped

3 Garlic Cloves minced

1-32 Oz. Box of Chicken Stock

4 Cups of Water

1 14 Oz. Can of Crushed Tomatoes

1 Bay Leaf

1 Teaspoon of dry Thyme (you can substitute basil if you want to but I prefer thyme)

½ Teaspoon of Black Pepper

8 Oz. of Elbow Macaroni

½ Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese



  1. Place the ham bone in a 6-8 quart kettle, add the water, the chicken stock and the bay leaf and simmer for about two hours until the meat is ready to fall off of the bone.
  2. Remove the bone and meat to a plate to cool and strain the remaining liquid before returning it to the original soup kettle.
  3. Add the chopped onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, cannelloni beans, thyme and black pepper to the soup and simmer for at least an hour to blend the flavors.
  4. Meanwhile, strip the ham off of the bone, remove any fat and gristle, cut the ham into bite-sized pieces and add them to the soup.
  5. At this point you can taste the soup and add salt if necessary. I sometimes like to add a couple of tablespoons of ketchup to give the soup a hint of sweet sour.
  6. Cook the elbow macaroni (or your Favorite Italian pasta) according to the directions on the box. Be sure to leave it a little underdone, as it will continue to cook in the soup.
  7. Serve hot with grated Parmesan cheese on the side and some crusty Italian bread.


Pasta e Fagioli

Newburgh, New York where I first heard about pasta fazool

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    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 5 years ago from USA

      I'll have to try this. It's similar to a couple of dishes I make now, but different enough to catch my guy's interest. Plus, he works with a die-hard Italian who, like your coworker, raves about it whenever he gets an authentic Italian meal.

    • FordeAhern profile image

      FordeAhern 5 years ago from Broadford, Co. Limerick. ireland

      Sounds good. I love Italian food. voted up and useful. Thank you

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Love this dish. My Italian grandparents made this dish so thick the spoon stood up in it. Voted awesome!