This Italian-inspired Instant Pot pasta fagioli recipe combines ground meat, beans, and pasta into a hearty soup or stew. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese or dip some crusty bread into the broth for a hearty meal.
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What’s In An Authentic Pasta Fagioli Recipe
I have to admit that after 20+ years of traveling to Italy, I’ve never had pasta fagioli in Italy. And, I’ve even written a book about Italy. Maybe this is because of the regions I’ve visited. Maybe it’s because I tend not to order soup in Italy – I’m too busy scarfing down full plates of pasta.
I did, however, grow up with recipes like this one in New Jersey. I grew up in a half Italian household. I grew up going to cheesy Italian-American restaurants in Northern New Jersey and always came across pasta fagioli – or pasta fazool in New Jersey Italian.
Pasta e Fagioli simply translates to pasta and beans. It’s a warm and hearty soup made with pasta, pancetta, broth, and white beans. Traditionally, the white beans are even pressed or blended to make the soup thick. It’s a poor peasant’s soup for cold days in Italy.
Check out our recipe for Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup With Cannellini Beans.
Why Make Pasta Fagioli In An Instant Pot
This recipe is more of an American interpretation and more like what you would see at Italian restaurants in the US. And by making it in an Instant Pot, it’s a quick one-pot recipe that is made in a jiffy. The meat and veg are quickly sauteed in the pot and then the beans and pasta are cooked quickly too.
This recipe is made with canned beans rather than dry beans to make it even quicker. Because the canned beans are already cooked, the only goal is to heat the beans within the soup.
What Kind of Beans Are In Pasta Fagioli
Traditionally, pasta fagioli beans would include cannellini beans or the Italian white beans. These are sometimes referred to as navy beans too. Also traditionally, dried beans would be soaked overnight and then slowly cooked on a stovetop.
I like cooking with dried beans and using an Instant Pot makes that pretty easy to do. But, I also like quick and easy recipes. For this recipe, I used canned white beans and kidney beans for pasta fagioli. I like using kidney beans because they add some color to the soup.
Check out our other white bean recipes:
What Type Of Pasta To Use
One of the common ingredients across all recipes is the pasta itself. Most recipes call for ditalini pasta. Ditalini is a tiny tube-shaped pasta.
I find that because this recipe only calls for about a cup of pasta, any small past lying around the house will work. We are a household of two. We always seem to have a half of a box or bag of a half dozen different pasta shapes in the pantry.
Normally I use small shells, which I also use for macaroni and cheese. Elbow macaroni works well too. There is no need to track down fancy ditalini pasta if you don’t want to.
If you do want to use the ditalini, you can find it at most supermarkets. Or you can purchase ditalini pasta on Amazon here.
Check out our recipe for Instant Pot Taco Pasta With Black Beans
Other Ingredients For Pasta Fagioli Soup In An Instant Pot
This soup includes a lot of typical Italian ingredients that we tend to keep around the house. This includes olive oil, garlic, onion, carrot, and celery. The carrot and celery should be diced into smaller than bite-sized pieces.
I like to use a garlic press too so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the soup. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
For this version, I used ground pork because we are trying to cut down on our beef consumption, but ground beef works well too.
The base of the soup includes canned, diced tomatoes and chicken broth. A dab of tomato paste adds a little color and acidity to the soup. I like to take the meat out a little before I start cooking when I can. Then, I sprinkle some salt onto the meat to season it.
This soup is also not loaded up on seasonings and spices either. Just a few bay leaves to add a bit of texture and layers to the flavor. Any dried Italian seasonings work, including dried oregano, thyme, or basil. I also like to add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper to add just a little bit of heat.
How To Make A Pasta Fagioli Instant Pot Recipe
Get all of your ingredients all ready to go and place them in order near your Instant Pot. This recipe moves pretty fast.
Using The Saute Function On The Pressure Cooker
Turn the Instant Pot on the saute function. Add the olive oil and seasoned ground pork to the pot. Break up the ground pork into pieces and stir until the pork is fully cooked. Using a mix and chop (like this one) helps to break up the pork easier than a wooden spoon.
Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots to the Instant Pot while still on the saute function. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables start to sweat and soften.
Deglazing The Pressure Cooker
Add 1 cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pot. This is important when using the saute function of an Instant Pot. It’s particularly important when cooking meat.
Use a wooden spoon to scrape any food bits from the bottom of the pan. This is important because some of the electric pressure cookers can be temperamental and show a burn error when cooking.
Using The Pressure Cooking Function
Turn the Instant Pot off. Add the diced tomatoes, dry pasta, dried oregano, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Even if you like spicy food, start with a little red pepper. More can be added later if needed.
Add additional chicken broth if needed to ensure the pasta is covered with liquid. Close the Instant Pot lid and lock it. Ensure the valve is sealed. Set to Pressure Cook for 3 minutes. It will take about 10 or 15 minutes for the cooker to pressurize. When the machine is pressurized, it will count down the three minutes.
Using The Warming Function
When the time is up, allow the pot to vent naturally for about 10 minutes. Then, release the pressure valve.
Carefully lift the lid away from your face. Add the drained and rinsed beans. Adjust any seasoning if needed, either by adding a little salt or some more crushed red pepper. Remove the bay leaves.
Place the Instant Pot on the Keep Warm function just to warm the beans. After about 5 or 10 minutes it should be ready.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground pork or beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups of low sodium Chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup dry, uncooked pasta
- 1 15 ounce can of white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- Add olive oil and ground pork to the Instant Pot and cook on the saute function.
- Break up the pork with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until it is cooked through.
- Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables start to sweat.
- Add 1 cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot off. Add diced tomatoes, pasta, oregano, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes.
- Add more chicken broth if needed to ensure the pasta is covered with broth.
- Close the Instant Pot Lid. Ensure the valve is sealed. Set to Pressure Cook for 3 minutes.
- When the time is up, allow the pot to vent naturally for about 10 minutes. Then, release the pressure valve. Carefully lift the lid away from your face.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Add the drained and rinsed beans. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Close the lid. Place the Instant Pot on the Keep Warm function just to warm the beans.
- after about 10 minutes the soup will be ready.
If you are not familiar with cooking beans in an Instant Pot be sure to see the cooking notes above.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 594Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 202mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 12gSugar: 4gProtein: 41g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
Modifications And Variations
I like making recipes that I consider “kitchen sink” recipes. These are ones that include everything but the kitchen sink and help me use a lot of ingredients that I already have in the house.
I like to do this when making pasta or risotto, using up random veggies and even leftover beans. This is how I started making dishes like this one. You can follow the ingredients list above or swap out what you have in the house.
Use shallots instead of onions. Skip the celery. Using Italian sausage, ground beef, or ground chicken if you have it. You can also make it with pancetta or even bacon.
Skip the kidney beans and just use white beans. Use veggie broth instead of chicken broth. There are loads of options.
This is also an easy vegetarian and vegan soup. Just leave out the meat and swap vegetable broth for chicken broth.
Reheating And Freezing
This soup also reheats well and freezes well. Keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to two months. When reheating, use a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add about a cup of chicken broth if needed to add moisture.
I also like to add fresh ingredients to soups coming out of the fridge or the freezer. We reheated some of this pasta fagioli with fresh spinach and a squirt of lemon juice to revive it a bit.
FAQs – Instant Pot Pasta Fagioli Soup
Fagioli is the word for bean in Italian. For this recipe, it normally refers to white beans or cannellini beans.
Pasta e fagioli is pasta and beans in Italian. It’s any soup that includes pasta, white beans, veggies and normally ground meat.